News Corp. plans German pay TV outlet


COLOGNE, Germany -- Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is stepping up its German invasion with plans to launch a pay TV channel in the territory.

News Corp. has applied for a license for a new German-language channel: Fox International Channels Germany. The channel, which will carry films, series and sitcoms from the 20th Century Fox library, is being targeted for a May launch.

The move comes just weeks after News Corp. upped its stake in leading German pay TV group Premiere to 19.9%, making News Corp. its single largest shareholder.

The license application still has to be approved by state authorities in Berlin and by Germany's national watchdogs to see if it is in accordance with media concentration laws.

Murdoch is no stranger to the German market. News Corp. was a minority shareholder in Vox for several years but was unable to wrest control of the Cologne-based free-TV channel from partner RTL. Murdoch sold his stake and bought up tiny women's network tm3, which he -- expensively and unsuccessfully -- attempted to transform into a lads-only soccer channel.