To combat the rising tide of “cord cutters” who are terminating their pay TV subscriptions in favor of viewing free television shows online, Fox Broadcasting announced on Tuesday that it would allow only those web users who prove their subscriptions to affiliated cable or satellite TV providers to stream Fox programs online on the day after they are aired. Under the new policy, which goes into effect on August 15, web users who do not subscribe to DISH Network or to the Hulu Plus online viewing service will have to wait at least eight days to stream new episodes of Fox shows that include Glee, The Simpsons, or The Family Guy. Although DISH is the only multichannel video provider to sign thus far onto the Fox initiative, Fox executives said they hope to forge deals with other pay TV distributors in time for the fall viewing season. (Hulu, in turn, is part-owned by News Corp., the parent company of Fox Broadcasting.) Time Warner Cable is reportedly discussing a subscription tie-in with Disney, the owner of the ABC broadcast network, and sources indicate that the CBS network is also exploring the possibility of a similar move. Fox’s announcement follows on the publication of statistics last week by SNL Kagan that estimate 4.5 million U.S. households will access video programs exclusively through web-based streaming services instead of through traditional cable or satellite TV subscriptions by the end of this year, up from 2.5 million households at the end of 2010. Broadcasters also fear that the trend will eat into Nielsen Co. viewership rankings that form the basis of TV advertising rates. Arguing that “cord-cutting is going to be a problem,” Mike Hopkins, the president of affiliate sales for Fox, told a reporter: “the more you enable it by putting content out there for free without any tether to a pay-TV subscription, the bigger the danger becomes.” Though acknowledging “there may be consumers that are unhappy,” Hopkins added: “if this works, you’re going to see a lot more content online.”