Murdoch plans six new Indian regional TV channels

MUMBAI, August 4, 2008 (AFP) – Media mogul Rupert Murdoch on Monday announced plans to launch six new regional television channels in India, where the media is expanding at a frenetic pace. Murdoch has a strong television presence in Asia’s third-largest economy through leading broadcaster Star, a wholly owned subsidiary of the tycoon’s News Corp.

“The investments will be in the region of 100 million dollars and we will launch in the next 12 months,” Murdoch told reporters in India’s business capital, declining to give further financial details.

Murdoch, who is on a four-day India visit, earlier met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and government officials in New Delhi. He was in Mumbai to meet business and media figures.

The chief executive of Australian-based News Corp said he had no immediate plans to invest in India’s print media.

Star operates 14 TV channels in India offering entertainment, sports and news programming.

“We don’t see ourselves taking a stake in print because they are not available and because we don’t want to take just a 26 percent stake,” Murdoch said.

India’s government caps foreign ownership in Indian print media at 26 percent.