labels: Brand Dossier, Media
Murdoch plans six regional TV channels in India; eyes mobile phone entertainment news
04 August 2008

Rupert MurdochMumbai: Faced with an economic slowdown in the United States and Europe, News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch has turned to Asia with plans to launch six regional television channels in India alone.

News Corp will invest over $100 million to launch six television channels in six regional languages in India over the next 12 months, Murdoch, who is on a visit to Mumbai, said.

He said his Dow Jones newswire service is also planning big expansion in India and is likely to enter the digital media with joint operations with an Indian partner.

Addressing reporters in Mumbai, he said advertising for News Corp's television networks in the US and the UK was still good and ''cable networks in the US are all sold out for 12 months."

"Our advertisement on television and the Internet is very good, except for local television," Murdoch said.

Asia, with its emerging wealthy middle class was a long-term bet, he added.

The US media conglomerate is already a leading broadcaster in India with its Star network and stakes in some regional channels.

Murdoch, who created a global media empire, buying up everything from newspapers to television stations and internet companies, however, expect a severe impact of the economic slowdown on advertising over the years.

Murdoch, who acquired wireline news service Dow Jones & Co for about $5.6 billion last year, plans to more than double its editorial staff in India to 60-70 in the next six months from the current 25.

Dow Jones, Murdoch said, is also looking at growing digitally such as in the mobile space, adding that the company is looking for a partner.

The media baron, who was reportedly eying The Times of India Group, however, said he is not interested in acquiring any stake in the print media in India, where the government has set a 26 per cent cap on investment.

"We don't see ourselves taking a stake in print -- because they are not available and because we won't want to take just a 26 per cent stake," Murdoch said.

Dow Jones, meanwhile announced the launch of Dow Jones India Titans 30 index a 30-stock index tracking the market performance of prominent Indian companies such as Reliance Industries, Infosys, HDFC, Bharti Airtel and Larsen and Toubro.

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Murdoch plans six regional TV channels in India; eyes mobile phone entertainment