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Times to flick switch on net TV

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The Times is to launch an internet TV service later this week as part of a strategy to branch out into online and mobile content.

Details of the venture, called Times TV, have yet to be revealed but Reuters reports that content would be provided by a number of different partners. The whole shebang is being sponsored by Cisco.

One potential content partner could be sibling Sky, which earlier this year launched a video-on-demand (VoD) service giving punters access to sport and movies via a broadband connection. Sky, which is 38 per cent owned by News Corporation, also launched a service that beams its content to mobile-phone users.

Details of the Times TV service emerged yesterday as the exec chairman of News International, Les Hinton, explained that the firm's strategy is to "protect and extend".

"While we grow and protect the circulations of our newspapers, we are extending our online and mobile audiences," he said.

His comments follow a speech given by News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch who said newspapers need to embrace the iPod generation or risk losing out in the digital world.

He said that content was "king" in this digital age, and that it was up to newspapers to provide that content via a variety of different platforms such as the web, iPods, mobile phones or laptops.

He told a meeting of newspaper bosses: "Power is moving away from the old elite in our industry...a new generation of media consumers has risen demanding content delivered when they want it, how they want it, and very much as they want it. This new media audience - and we are talking here of tens of millions of young people around the world - is ALREADY using technology, especially the web, to inform, entertain and above all to educate themselves."

News of the imminent launch of Times TV comes amid speculation that the BBC and ITV are on the verge of developing a live TV broadcast service for mobile phones.

A six-month trial - believed to be carried out with Samsung and LG - is thought to slated for later this year. ®

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