Murdoch plans six new Indian regional TV channels

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch announced plans to launch six new regional television channels in India, where the media is expanding at a frenetic pace.

Murdoch has a strong television presence in Asia's third-largest economy through leading broadcaster Star, a wholly owned subsidiary of the tycoon's News Corp.

"The investments will be in the region of $100 million and we will launch in the next 12 months," Murdoch told reporters in India's business capital, declining to give further financial details.

Murdoch, who is on a four-day India visit, earlier met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and government officials in New Delhi. He was in Mumbai to meet business and media figures.

The chief executive of Australian-based News Corp said he had no immediate plans to invest in India's print media.

Star operates 14 TV channels in India offering entertainment, sports and news programming.

"We don't see ourselves taking a stake in print because they are not available and because we don't want to take just a 26 percent stake," Murdoch said.

India's government caps foreign ownership in Indian print media at 26 per cent.

In India, financial daily Mint, part of the Hindustan Times media group, has a tie-up with the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Murdoch.

The media in India has been expanding at an exponential rate with new television channels, magazines and newspapers debuting almost monthly.

Driving the media boom in the country of more than one billion people is an economy that has grown by at least nine per cent for the past three years, pushing up incomes and creating a surge in advertising.