Rupert Murdoch has scaled backed plans for a new TV news service in the UK, concluding that it is not financially viable.
Rebekah Brooks, chief executive News UK, told staff that the enormous cost of getting a television news channel on air meant it did not make business sense to push ahead. The company would instead focus on reaching news audiences via shows on streaming platforms, adding: “Whilst there is consumer demand for alternative news provision, the costs of running a rolling news channel are considerable, and it is our assessment that the payback for our shareholders wouldn’t be sufficient. We need to launch the right products for the digital age,” reports The Guardian.
The News UK TV boss, David Rhodes, an US news executive will be leaving in June. He will be staying with the wider global Murdoch business, where he has repeatedly been tipped by insiders for promotion and a possible return to Fox News.
This leaves field relatively clear for the Andrew Neil-fronted GB News channel. It has raised £60 million from the likes of US media company Discovery, Dubai investment company Legatum, and the Brexit-backing hedge fund boss Paul Marshall.
Brooks said News UK will still be investing in television-style content, with increasingly professional video output produced by its radio stations such as talkRadio, where presenters have regularly gone viral with clips berating lockdowns. The News UK radio boss, Scott Taunton, will now take over responsibility for its television output.