A new initiative from 20th Century Fox called The Digital HD project is bringing over 600 new movie and TV titles to users of Google Play and YouTube, among others.
“Today you can buy Fox’s new release 'Prometheus' in HD, available three weeks ahead of the Blu-ray, DVD and video-on-demand release,” Google announced. “And over the next few weeks you’ll be able to rent or buy your favorite Fox movies like ‘X-Men’, ‘Ice Age’ and ‘Black Swan’, and TV shows like ‘Glee,’ ‘Modern Family,’ ‘New Girl’ and many more.”
Google’s Jonathan Zepp, manager of TV & Film Content Partnerships, said the new content is rolling out first in the U.S. It will be available in other countries “soon.”
Fox announced earlier in September they would begin offering early-access Digital HD movie downloads for $15, starting with Prometheus. It is available now, three weeks ahead of the scheduled Blu-ray and DVD release, said Google.
Google One of Several Fox Partners for Digital HD
As part of their project, Fox is making the content fairly widely available. Customers on the following sites/services will also have access:
- Xbox Live
"Whether the plan involves watching Fox movies on connected HDTVs in your living room, or on your tablet or smartphone on the run, Digital HD offers up versatility and convenience," the statement from Fox said.
Fox plans to offer the service in more than 50 countries, said Mary Daily, the unit's chief marketing officer.
“We’re now working with all six of the major film studios and many independent studios to bring you the best new releases and your favorite classics to rent or own,” added Zepp.
Google Play launched earlier this year as their cloud-based “digital entertainment destination” for apps, music, movies, and books. With the launch, three other services were folded into the new offering: Android Market, Google Music, and the Google eBookstore.
At the time of writing, Google Play now offers over 600,000 apps, hundreds of bestselling magazine titles, and million of songs.
Google Play & Fox Deal - Is This the End of a Technology Rivalry?
The partnership between Google and Fox may surprise those who remember Rupert Murdoch’s Twitter rants from January of this year. The NewsCorp leader (owner of 20th Century Fox) accused Google of being one of the worst offenders in pirating content:
Google responded to Murdoch’s accusations at the time. A spokesperson told The Telegraph, “This is just nonsense. Last year we took down 5 million infringing web pages from our search results and invested more than $60 million in the fight against bad ads. Like many other tech companies, we believe that there are smart, targeted ways to shut down foreign rogue websites without asking US companies to censor the Internet."
Late in 2010, Fox actually blocked content from Google TV devices. "It's not unheard of when there's a new technology that a lot of incumbents in the space are trying to to find out what that technology means for them," said Google TV executive Rishi Chandra at the time.
This March, Murdoch again took to Twitter to defend NewsCorp amidst allegations they used piracy to sabotage competitors.
It seems the ruffled feathers have been smoothed over, though Fox could hardly ignore the web’s very own Goliath in their pursuit of content distribution channels. Still, the program marks a shift in corporate mentality that should be very welcome to users, who have asked for easier ways to download media legally throughout the debate over piracy.