News Corp Australia will launch its very own 24-hour news service on Foxtel if its attempt to buy Sky News outright for $25 million is thwarted.
According to News’ The Australian, the senior management team has drawn-up plans to launch its very own cable news network if its attempts to purchase Sky are unsuccessful. Sky is one third own by the Seven and Nine networks and Sky UK, and News’ takeover could be vetoed by any one of three current owners.
The Australian reported that News’ bosses were “optimistic” of snaring Sky but were “prepared to start a new channel to deal with the consequences of losing video content for the publisher’s newspapers”.
It said that News had plans to broadcast from its new Fox Sports studio in North Sydney and could possibly commence by next year. Sky News’ agreement with Foxtel expires at the end of 2017.
According to the article the biggest impediment to News acquiring Sky was arguably Channel Nine, with CEO David Gyngell recently stating he was open to Nine selling its 33 per cent; however, he didn’t believe News’ present offer represented “fair value”. Gyngell reportedly said he believed Nine’s stake was worth more like $32 million.
And Gyngell may well be right. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Annual Entertainment and Media Outlook audience demand for video and video advertising is soaring with ad spends expected to increase 40 per cent this year alone.