Rupert Murdoch’s plans for a new opinion-led news channel for the UK have been dramatically rewritten.
In a memo released to News UK staff, chief executive Rebecca Brooks said the cost of putting a television channel to air was not economically viable.
“While 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,” she wrote in the memo, originally published by The Guardian.
Brooks said News UK would continue to invest in TV-style content, such as providing video versions of its radio stations, including TalkRadio. Such content is regularly shared over social media.
The decision leaves the way clear for GB News being launched by veteran telecommunications executives Andrew Cole and Mark Schneider, and chaired by former BBC political journalist Andrew Neil.
The company has raised £60 million from investors including Legatum, Vote Leave donor Sir Paul Marshall and Discovery Inc. Its hired former ITV anchor Alastair Stewart, alongside the BBC’s Simon McCoy and Sky’s Colin Brazier.
Having scaled back its commitment from a modest five-hours a night, Brooks said News would still produce News To Me, an entertainment news show hosted by Gordon Smart, which would be “viewable live or on-demand via streaming” and that “other shows were planned”.