Although news headlines are blaring that News Corp. (NYSE:NWS) will allow users to buy Fox TV shows and movies through its high-profile Internet property, MySpace, the story is a lot more interesting and complex than that. News Corp.'s powerful Internet properties are showing their teeth, the company joins many other media companies that are allowing digital distribution of their video content, and last but not least, could Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) be getting outfoxed?

Not only will people be able to buy shows like 24 and movies like The Omen through MySpace and other News Corp. sites, but they will also be able to download them to any device that runs Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows operating system. TV shows will be available for $1.99 a pop, and movies will cost about $20. (Some Fox shows are already available through iTunes for $1.99 each.) In another interesting element, Fox will make some of its movies available digitally at the same time they're available on DVD. And the TV shows in question will be available 24 hours after being broadcast on television.

It's no secret that the movie studios have been a tough nut for Apple to crack, and many of their initiatives may leave us to wonder where Apple's place will be in movie distribution. For example, Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) Warner Bros. is allowing some pretty interesting distribution of some of its entertainment offerings; a case in point is its having recently said it will set up shop on file-sharing service BitTorrent.

Apple seems to be getting snubbed a lot these days, given the fact that movie studios seem to be finding many other ways to distribute their products without the help of iTunes. Of course, there are still some details to hammer out in their initiatives, such as price and how to best navigate copyright concerns, and there are some reasons to wonder if the movie studios can make it worth customers' while, as Apple did with music.

News Corp.'s aggressive move certainly brings up a lot of questions for all the players involved. But one element that it hammers home is how valuable some of its recent acquisitions were. Not only has MySpace proven to be a powerful boon to online distribution, but News Corp.'s Direc2Drive service, which will sell the movies and shows, uses IGN's technology.

News Corp. snapped up IGN for $650 million about a year ago. IGN allowed gamers to download video games over the Internet, and it was clearly a nod to News Corp.'s interest in the youth demographic. It's now obvious News Corp. had even bigger plans for the service, above and beyond avid gamers.

As recently as last year, News Corp. was known for being a bit late to the game when it came to Internet properties and initiatives. This story shows that it's back in the game -- and it's obviously got a lot of tricks up its sleeve as it plays to win.

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Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.