March 12, 2012 / 4:48 PM / in 7 years

Mexico's Slim aims for U.S. Internet TV in 3rd quarter

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 in a project that could be running before October, according to the network and a Slim spokesman.

Chairman of Grupo Carso Carlos Slim of Mexico speaks during an interview with Reuters at the ITU Telecom World in Geneva October 24, 2011. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

The online venture, Ora.TV, 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.

Slim, the telecommunications tycoon, last week was named the world’s richest man for the third year in a row, according to Forbes magazine’s annual list of billionaires.

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

“It will be a free video channel on the Internet,” said Slim’s spokesman Arturo Elias Ayub.

“The business model will be based on advertising and probably (down the road) there could be channels that may want to broadcast it exclusively.”

The venture will have a New York headquarters and Los Angeles studios to produce on-demand content and “a wide range of programs that transcend traditional formats,” according to a statement from Ora.TV.

Slim’s America Movil, one of the world’s biggest telecommunications firms, will fund the station that will be led by Jon Housman, who was formerly the president of digital journalism at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Ora.TV’s website said.

Slim is the main provider of pay-television in Latin America, where he offers cable and satellite services to around 13 million customers, and he also owns a stake in New York Times Co.

Slim, who is barred from competing in Mexico’s traditional television market, maintains a local online news site Uno Noticias.

Reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz and Michael O'Boyle; editing by Matthew Lewis

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