Fox News using free video streams to lure users

Fox News using free video streams to lure users
CNET News reports that Fox has become the latest in a string of major media outlets hoping to attract new users to their Websites by offering free streaming video.

The cable news station, owned by News Corp., on Tuesday said its Web site now lets visitors stream clips from its breaking news and popular talk shows such as “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Fox News joins other news outlets that offer free, advertising-supported streaming video to its Web visitors. After the dot-com collapse, some media companies such as CNN and began charging for subscriptions as a way to finance video clips.

Recently, however, other companies have been taking a stab at keeping video free. Last week, Microsoft released a free streaming video site called MSN TV that features segments from NBC News and news shows such as “Dateline.” CBS News also has taken the free route by supporting its video with advertising.

While I certainly believe local stations and the networks should provide advertiser-supported video, there are two assumptions here with which I disagree. One, the moves these folks are making all flow from a mass-media perspective, the idea that more is better. The Internet isn’t a mass-marketing medium. Two, these organizations are using their Websites to serve their broadcast products by repeating dubs of existing programs, and ultimately, it should be the other way around.

When a major news outlet begins to do things exclusively for its Web product(s), I’ll really sit up and take notice. The model here is Editor and Publisher, who this month changed their weekly magazine to monthly and moved resources to their Internet operation. Take a look at their site. Nice.

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