ABC cancels plans for news channel

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ABC on Thursday said it has killed plans for a 24-hour news channel.

``Rather than engage in a bidding war for subscribers, we have decided to seek other, more immmediate ways to expand our investment in the ABC News brand,'' said Robert Iger, president of Capital Cities/ABC, in a prepared statement. Mr. Iger did not say how the company would accomplish the brand extension.

Thomas Murphy, who was chairman of the network before its recent sale to the Walt Disney Co., told Advertising Age on Monday that he never started a cable news network ``because it would have cost too much.''

Robert Wright, president of NBC--which is launching a 24-hour news channel in conjunction with Microsoft--told Advertising Age in April that he did not believe ABC would launch its news channel.

Besides NBC/Microsoft, News Corp. has said it will launch a 24-hours news channel and pay operators up to $10 per subscriber for taking the service. However, for operators who accept that deal, News. Corp. more than makes its money back over the life of the contract.

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