Carlos Slim Helú, Forbes “World’s Richest Man,” will announce on Monday his Internet television network called Ora.tv. The network will bring Larry King, the former CNN interviewer, out of retirement and back to the desk. It is Slim’s intent to bypass the traditional portals to live television by taking the entire process online.
Slim’s company América Móvil will be financing the Ora.tv network. Ora translates to “now” in both Spanish and Italian. One could consider this to be Slim’s play to get into Mexico, where the government has blocked him from a broadcast license. But it does appear he intends to build a brand around Ora.tv that will cater to the United States, Latin America, and beyond. Ora.tv will be supported by advertisement, not a subscription model.
The 78-year-old Larry King has grown restless since CNN replaced Larry King Live with Piers Morgan Tonight. He told the New York Times, “I run into people everyday who tell me they miss my show. And a lot of times I miss it too.” King’s presence on the Ora.tv network is bound to attract other celebrity interest. I assume Slim is counting on that.
This is just another component of an ongoing trend to provide media content directly online. Google’s YouTube has been funding exclusive channels that will only be syndicated on their service. Netflix creates original programming including the recently launched Lilyhammer, and the upcoming fourth season of Arrested Development. Hulu, the merged-network megasite, also has original content and Amazon intends to enter the business this coming year.