I thought Fox was planning (threatening) to scrub OTA and go cable/sat only?
And they still may. But that is a different issue. FOX is not going to close shop on the stations it owns, and in fact they need to find ways to use the bandwidth they have to discourage the government Overlords from snatching it out from under them. There is a "use it or lose it" chill going through OTA right now. If a station lets one bit through as a null bit wihout content, the FCC will annex it under Eminent Domain (except without compensation) and sell it to Verizon.
And this is exactly why we are seeing these subs. They are not there to make money, they are there to reserve bandwidth.
Movies! is an attempt to do just that. It is supposed to be content from the FOX library which should be mostly movies, but FOX also has a reality channel with a lot of stuff in the can so it might be more than just movies.
The signal was not up on the sat for distribution to FOX stations Wednesday, but the O&O stations were all required to have it up and running with some sort of signal by then. Some stations duplicated Bounce or some other sub for the duration, but by now all FOX O&O stations should have Movies! up. FOX affils will probably get first dibs, but you may see it appear on any TV station in your market eventually, assuming they are willing to pay the freight to
NewsCorp er, 21st Century FOX (the new name). FOX owns 28 stations in 22 markets, so I would expect Movies! to be on most if not all of those locations pretty quickly, although there may be legal or other obstructions in a couple of locations. But it is not exclusive to FOX O&O stations, so most markets will have it eventually.
As for the "threat", that is more possible than a lot of folks think. Most FOX stations already have the infrastructure in place to feed different signals to OTA than what goes to cable and sat. Stations in Comcast and Cox markets already send different commercials to cable viewers than go out OTA.
As far as execution, it would never need to be a full abandonment of OTA. All FOX has to do is move a couple of NFL games this fall to cable only (which would be replaced by news repeats or something else OTA) to make good on that threat. That alone should be enough to scare the pants off of Aereo and discourage them from trying to sell customers FOX minus its best programs. If nobody blinks, they can move a couple of other prime shows. And they can do that while completely fulfilling all license obligations. If all the big nets do that, and they also adopt the ABC free streaming model, which is easy and inexpensive to do, paying $12 a month for OTA on your iPad will not be all that attractive anymore, and it'll be buh-bye, Aereo, and the horse they rode in on.