News UK has drastically scaled back plans for a new opinionated television service in Britain after its chief executive said it was no longer financially viable.
Rebekah Brooks told staff the enormous costs of launching a new channel on-air meant it did not make business sense.
Brooks said News UK would instead focus on streaming platforms after an assessment by the company found the payback on a rolling new channel “for our shareholders wouldn’t be sufficient”.
News UK TV boss David Rhodes, an American television news executive who moved over to London to work on the project, will leave his position in June but will continue to advise the wider Murdoch business on streaming news media.
Questions have also been raised about the fate of television producers hired by Rhodes.
Last year the intention was for News UK TV to launch with about five hours of output every night, including an early-evening politics show, a daily political debate programme and an evening news bulletin.
Rupert Murdoch, who owns News UK, has increasingly looked towards charging people to watch opinionated TV news streaming services, launching the likes of Fox Nation in the US and Fox News International for global consumers.
The move has increased attention on the finances of rival news channel GB News. The opinionated news channel that will be fronted by former BBC journalist Andrew Neil has raised £60million to secure slots on traditional TV platforms such as Freeview.
GB News is building a new right-of-centre 24-hour television channel from scratch centred on presenter-led shows. It is hiring dozens of journalists and has signed up presenters such as Sky’s Colin Brazier, the BBC’s Simon McCoy and former ITV presenter Alastair Stewart to host programmes.