Rupe turns a page on Internet TV push

U.K. pub to launch news service via Web

Rupert Murdoch is taking an unusual route to expand his Web television presence: newspapers.

U.K. paper the Times will launch a video news service on its Web site, drawing on the resources of several News Corp. platforms to expand the reach of the company in overseas markets, including the U.S.

There are few details about the Web net but BSkyB, the satellite TV outfit part-owned by News Corp., is thought to be among the providers, possibly through its Sky News net.

The Times may also use video from wire services; it is unlikely to produce much of its own video.

Murdoch hopes the service will give News Corp.’s newspaper operations more of a toehold in the U.S.

Announcement came on the same day the Times launched a U.S. edition.

Murdoch is betting the ability to use the printing presses of News Corp. tabloid the New York Post will solve distribution problems and reach Anglophiles and expats in Gotham.The Times is not above a little self-promotion to achieve that goal; a story in the online edition Tuesday featured testimonials from New Yorkers talking of how they loved the paper and making comments like, “I’m hooked.”

This blazes the trail for another British paper, the Guardian, which announced Tuesday it, too, will launch an American edition.

And the British are coming in other media — the BBC is expected to launch a 24-hour news channel in the U.S. this summer.

With print newspapers’ reader numbers flagging — and cable news not always faring better — Times TV is a gambit to up page views to the newspaper’s Web site.

But the newspaper and TV biz don’t always play well together. The New York Times and Discovery recently dissolved their pact, while Tribune could not capitalize on Times Mirror ownership (see Tuning In, page 6).

At the same time, the Times is known for a more serious newsgathering operation that could fill a hole in the consolidating U.S. newspaper market.

A Times rep said there would be more details on the Web TV outfit in the coming weeks.

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