Murdoch hints at UK version of Fox News
LONDON – Rupert Murdoch has suggested he might launch a UK version of his US Fox News station to stand alongside Sky News.
In an interview in the Sunday Express, the News Corporation chairman said: "I might start a full British edition of Fox News as well as Sky News. I might cover radio as well."
Fox News, which was launched in 1996, has been gaining ground in the US on rival CNN, prompting the AOL Time Warner channel to enter into merger talks with first CBS and now ABC.
At its launch, it was seen as inconceivable that Fox News would ever surpass CNN, but in 2002 it has.
In the US, it now reaches as many as 80m homes, outstripping CNN in both the 24-hour and prime-time ratings war this year. Reports in the US press also suggest that, despite the downturn, it is showing significant growth in advertising revenues.
Elsewhere in the Sunday Express interview, Murdoch indicated he was ready to make another bid for DirecTV should EchoStar's bid fail. In the interview, he went on to attack the highly regulated TV market and argued that it should be opened up to the same degree the newspaper market has been.
A move to the UK for Fox would signal Murdoch's ambitions to challenge CNN and other news networks, such as the BBC, in other markets including Europe and Asia. However, any launch in the UK is likely to be a long way off.
In the US, the station, which has a reputation for conservative opinion, last week ran into controversy when it was reported that Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News and a former adviser to Republican presidential candidates, offered political advice to President Bush after 9/11.
Ailes denied reports that he sent a memo to the White House offering political advice, against guidelines. The allegations were made in Watergate journalist Bob Woodward's new book 'Bush at War'.
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