Fox Said Near Pact With Warner Bros. to Offer TV Shows Online
News Corp. (NWSA)’s Fox network is near a deal to let the broadcaster stream current Warner Bros. programs on websites and mobile devices, two people with knowledge of the talks said.
In exchange, Time Warner Inc. (TWX)’s Warner Bros., producer of Fox shows including “Fringe,” would be allowed to sell reruns to cable channels and broadcast outlets sooner, said the people, who weren’t authorized to talk publicly.
The terms with Fox are similar to an accord announced yesterday by Warner Bros. Television and Walt Disney Co. (DIS)’s ABC, the people said. The deals advance efforts by the networks to gain advertising revenue by offering more shows to viewers on mobile devices and online.
“We’re very close to a similar agreement with another network,” Craig Hunegs, executive vice president, Warner Bros. Television Group, said yesterday in an interview, without offering specifics. “Agreements with the other two networks are further out.”
The ABC deal allows Burbank, California-based Disney to distribute any Warner Bros. series produced for the network in the current television season and next season online and on Hulu.com’s ad-supported platforms.
The Warner Bros. series airing on ABC will also be made available on-demand through pay-television, the companies said. On all platforms, the five most recent episodes are available the day after they are first broadcast.
Warner Bros. gained rights to sell shows that appear on ABC to cable outlets after three seasons, a year earlier than previous agreements allowed.
Scott Rowe, a spokesman for Warner Bros. in Burbank, declined to comment, as did Gaude Paez, a spokeswoman for Fox Broadcasting in Los Angeles.
Time Warner, based in New York, rose 0.4 percent to $34.76 at the close. News Corp., controlled by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rupert Murdoch, gained 2.2 percent to $17.45.
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