After 25 years on the air, The Simpsons is further demonstrating its status as an unstoppable force by launching its very own streaming service, courtesy of FX. Becoming available on Tuesday October 21st 2014, every episode of the Fox series that has ever aired – all 552 of them – will be online within a powerful website packed with additional information and formidable search capabilities. With new episodes being added the day after they are broadcast on Fox, the service can be found at SimpsonsWorld.com (in the US) and through the FXNow app.
Making the announcement, FX President of Marketing and On-Air Promotions, Stephanie Gibbons, said:
“The Simpsons is one of the greatest shows ever made, and our goal was to create a site that pays homage to this classic iconic brand, while delivering a rich, personal experience. Fans will be able to seamlessly move in and out of the deepest digital archive of any TV series online, ever.”
In addition to watching episodes on demand, the website provides a search function that allows users to specify particular performers or characters, and view the episodes that they appear in. From 2015, this function will be extended to include the ability to search for words or phrases from Simpsons dialogue, using that to identify requested episodes.
It is also expected to enable viewers to create their own playlists, leading to personalized recommendations from the site. In-screen access to scripts is also anticipated. While the very existence of SimpsonsWorld.com is great news for fans, the even better news is that, since The Simpsons episodes are available elsewhere, this should motivate FX to continue providing exciting and exclusive extra content on the site in order to stay competitive.
The news of The Simpsons streaming service comes hot on the heels of similar announcements by TV networks HBO and CBS, who are both planning a service dedicated to their own content. These ‘on-demand’ services join competing platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, which each provide the same service – video on demand – through different business models. Some charge higher fees and provide content without commercials, while others keep costs low by including advertising. In order to use SimpsonsWorld.com, you will need authentication from a cable provider that has a deal with FX, and therefore access to the FXNow app.
Now that TV streaming is expanding in both scope and choice, it seems increasingly likely that television as we have known it for decades will transform into something else entirely. The question is, what kind of shape will it take? Now that networks are beginning to provide their own series content online, and The Simpsons is doing the same, will ‘regular’ television become the sole territory of reality TV and 24 hour news? Only time will tell.