LONDON — Media magnate Rupert Murdoch announced Wednesday that he is expanding into British television with three new satellite channels that may become available to viewers later this year.
Murdoch told a news conference that his British company, News International PLC, has signed a 10-year lease with British Telecommunications PLC to transmit on three satellite channels.
The arrangement will give British viewers a general entertainment and arts channel, a news channel and a feature film channel. Murdoch said he is also considering a fourth satellite channel to provide round-the-clock sports coverage.
"The satellite will be launched on Nov. 4, and we plan to begin test programs six weeks later," he said.
Murdoch said viewers will be able to receive the new services on their existing television sets and that the only additional cost will be for a satellite receiver dish and unit. The service will also be available to viewers who subscribe to cable television.
The British electronics group Amstrad PLC told the news conference it is entering the satellite television market and will make a satellite dish, aerial and receiver aimed at the mass market and costing about $360.
Amstrad Chairman Alan Sugar said British retailers Dixons Group PLC had agreed to buy the first 500,000 units.
The satellite television project is the latest venture by the Australian-born Murdoch, now a naturalized U.S. citizen, who owns several major newspapers and other media interests in Australia, Britain and the United States.