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News Corp to launch iPad subscription service

News Corp is set to launch a TV and film subscription service for the Apple iPad.

Chairman Rupert Murdoch hinted at the service during the company’s third quarter financial results. “Soon, we’re developing an innovative subscription model that will deliver digital content to consumers wherever and whenever they want it,” he said.

Murdoch added that he had been in negotiations with Apple over the service, which he admitted would be a direct competitor to Steve Jobs’ company and that it would announce more details in the next three to four weeks.

News Corp saw revenues rise from US7.37 billion to US$8.79 billion as well as a 19% rise in profits to US$839 million. Much of this is attributed to the success of James Cameron’s blockbuster 3D feature Avatar as well as the success of Fox News Channel.

Separately, News Corp-owned satellite pay TV service Sky Italia is set to add around 20 high definition channels in June.

Deputy chairman Chase Carey said: “We’re going to ramp up to 30 HD channels in the next month or so, we only had ten or so at the start of the year.”

He added: “Sky Italia has clearly gone through a tough stretch. There’s been a number of factors including the tax that was thrown at it. We’ve also got a competitor [Mediaset] that we didn’t have before.”