Carlos Slim Helú and Larry King today announced Ora.TV, a new digital television venture company founded by América Móvil, the wireless service provider Helú controls. Jon Housman, who until recently was president of Digital Journalism for News Corp., is the CEO.
King, who is internationally known from his 27-year career at CNN, will be one of the on-air personalities, along with others not yet confirmed, and several shows are already in development. In addition, Ora.TV is in talks with potential distribution and technology partners.
The network was started from scratch to be an on-demand network, producing a wide range of stand-alone content with high production values but without the program length or other constraints of traditional broadcasters. It will be available on phones, laptops, tablets, connected televisions and other devices.
“With the exponential burst in video consumption via internet-connected devices, this is an incredible moment to be launching a digital network and studio,” Housman said. “Moreover, to create a new network with Carlos Slim and Larry King, arguably two of the most accomplished individuals in the worlds of business and broadcast journalism, is an unprecedented opportunity.”
Besides, América Móvil, Helú (pictured) owns stakes in many companies, including the New York Times, which broke the Ora.TV story. He also is the main investor in Telefonos de Mexico and Grupo Financiero Inbursa.
“Ora.TV represents a great opportunity,” Helú said. “The business model is sound and the team brings the talent and industry understanding that will help Ora stand out in digital television, a category which is primed for exponential growth.”
Housman joined News Corp. when it acquired the Wall Street Journal Europe, of which he was publisher. He said Ora.TV will incorporate a full range of digitally enabled enhancements like social interactions and content discovery technologies.
“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,” he said. “This approach will allow us to thoughtfully address topics and ideas that might not be as well suited to traditional TV.”
Ora.TV will be based in New York City and will be launching programming later this year.
América Móvil is the leading provider of wireless services in Latin America. As of September 30, 2011, it had 241.5 million wireless subscribers and 56.4 million fixed revenue-generating units in the Americas.
Ora.TV press release – http://tinyurl.com/72c5u9h [PDF]
New York Times – New Internet TV Network to Feature Larry King