Mexico's Slim aims for U.S. Internet TV this year

Mon Mar 12, 2012 4:32pm EDT
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By Cyntia Barrera

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is financing an Internet TV network that will include an interview show with former CNN television host Larry King, and could be running by October.

Blocked by Mexican regulators from tapping television in his home country, where the world's richest man hopes to challenge the reign of broadcasters Televisa and TV Azteca, Slim is pivoting toward a less-protective market.

Slim's America Movil, one of the world's biggest telecommunications firms, will fund the venture. Financial details were not disclosed.

Last year the company purchased Miami-based DLA Inc, a digital media firm that distributes movies and television series from U.S. entertainment houses, as well as music to televisions and smartphones.

Slim's main expertise is mobile and fixed-line phone networks, where he controls 70 percent and 80 percent, respectively, of Mexico's markets and has a strong presence across Latin America. Analysts noted he has little experience with TV content.

"This is a big challenge for Slim," said Jorge Fernando Negrete, head of telecom think tank Mediatelecom in Mexico City.

Dubbed Ora.TV, the new venture will be based in the United States and could launch in the third quarter of this year, a spokesman for Slim told Reuters on Monday.

The free online news and entertainment channel will have mostly English-language content in its initial phase.   Continued...

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim speaks during the opening of the Soumaya museum in Mexico City March 1, 2011. REUTERS/Henry Romero