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NEW YORK — Mexican billionaire businessman Carlos Slim Helú is financing a new online television network which will feature broadcast news legend Larry King, it was announced on Monday. The network plans to begin broadcasting later this year.
Telecommunication tycoon Slim, who was again named the world’s richest person by Forbes magazine last week with a net worth of $69 billion, will invest in the new venture through Latin American wireless service provider América Móvil. The network, based in New York City, will be led by former News Corporation executive Jon Housman.
A statement from Ora.TV, as it will be called, said the network will create high-quality video programming for digital distribution via phones, laptops, tablets, internet-connected televisions, and other devices. “Unlike linear cable channels, from its inception Ora will be an on-demand network, producing a wide-range of stand-alone content that transcends traditional format distinctions,” the statement said.
The company said former CNN host Larry King will join the network as both co-founder and host, although it gave no specific details about the show or shows which are to be hosted by the radio and TV legend. Ora said it will produce shows that resemble traditional television in terms of production quality and content, but will be available in a variety of formats, including short-form segments.
“Ora.TV represents a great opportunity,” Slim said, underscoring that digital television as a whole is expected to see exponential growth in the coming years. Ora, which means ‘now’ in Italian, said it is in talks with potential distribution and technology partners as well as on-air personalities to join King.
“I am thrilled to be working with Carlos and Jon to create Ora.TV, a bold new model for digital television,” King said. “The backing of Carlos – given his stellar track record in business – combined with Jon’s track record of leadership and innovation, is a recipe for success.”
Ora.TV will be moving into a crowded video field which, in the United States especially, is dominated by YouTube, Hulu and Netflix. “In addition to traditionally styled programs, we will produce shows in alternative formats and varying lengths so that viewers can find and get information and insights they really care about in ways designed to harness these new mobile and interactive platforms,” Housman explained.
Ora said it expects to launch its first shows later this year. “Several shows are currently in development and will be announced in the coming months,” the statement said.