News Corp looking at biz news channel by year-end

MUMBAI: While Viacom is looking at splitting its business into two separate publicly-traded companies, the Rupert Murdoch owned media conglomerate News Corp is not looking at doing something similar.

News Corp COO Peter Chernin was quoted in a Reuters report saying, "We don't believe synergy is dead. We have no intentions of splitting up." News Corp is also planning to launch a business news channel in the US by the end of this year. The company has already begun work designing the channel.

Fox Reality Channel will start airing in May. Chernin expects more than 20 million potential viewers, 14 million of whom will be from pay TV operator DirecTV.

Meanwhile, another report in Hollywood Reporter states that the synergies that News Corp has will allow Fox to keep Reality's first-year costs to about $15 million, compared with average launch costs of $75 million for most cable channels. On the sporting front Fox could rival ESPN if it gets the National Football League rights which are with Disney.

American media analysts also maintain that there is strong potential for an alliance with an Internet portal like Yahoo! - which seeks Hollywood content from film studios and TV production arms like those of 20th Century Fox - and working partnerships with such traditional media outlets as the Fox O&Os and cable networks to raise its own competitive reach. News Corp recently engaged the services of consulting firm McKinsey to help construct a companywide strategy for an Internet extension of all of its businesses.

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