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Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive of News Corp, said on Monday the group’s DirecTV satellite television arm was close to deciding a strategy on how to enter the wireless high-speed internet market, with a plan due within two months.
Mr Murdoch, whose company owns a controlling stake in DirecTV, said the satellite group could invest about $1bn in a deal to provide internet access, a two-way service which cannot be directly offered via satellite links.
Cable and telecom competitors do offer high-speed internet access and Mr Murdoch has identified providing a similar bundle of services as a priority in light of the rapid spread of broadband use. DirecTV has said it is in talks about entering the wireless market, possibly through a deal involving WiMax technology, an emerging form of high-speed wireless service.
The growing use of high-speed internet access has led Mr Murdoch to focus on internet opportunities for his entire company. On Monday, he said at a conference the media group’s recently expanded internet businesses were likely to generate revenues in 2007 of $350m-$400m.
However, he said he expected revenues to “take off” after that. In particular, he was extremely optimistic about the prospects for MySpace.com, the community website acquired a few months ago, and which continues to attract 1m new users per week.
MySpace, with 47m registered users, is one of the fastest-growing websites and is especially popular among teens and people in their 20s. Mr Murdoch said a lot of work was being done to encourage users to spend more time on the site by making it “stickier”. New features being introduced include free downloads of video, starting this week.
Mr Murdoch said instant messaging and voice services would be introduced.