Fox Hopes to Be in Business by Mid-2007

News Corp. is looking to launch Fox Business Channel in early to mid-2007, according to a report issued Wednesday by UBS Warburg.

Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes told analyst Aryeh Bourkoff the target launch date for the financial network -- mid-2007 -- during a recent meeting with UBS Warburg.

Ailes also talked about the $1 monthly license fee News Corp. will seek for Fox News Channel when its deals expire, saying that the network will fight if need be to get value for its content, according to Bourkoff’s report.

The analyst estimated that Fox News’ current license fee is 27 cents per month, per subscriber -- below the estimated 46 cents CNN receives.

“We currently forecast new affiliate contracts to be established at 50 cents per subscriber, per month, which is likely conservative,” Bourkoff wrote. “Ailes noted that negotiations with Comcast, Cablevision [Systems] and DirecTV are expected ‘fairly soon, with Time Warner Cable expected in the next year.”

According to Bourkoff, “Ailes noted that carriage negotiations are typically challenging, and while he hopes to avoid any conflicts, he believes News Corp. will fight if necessary to receive fair value for Fox News content.”

Ailes doesn’t expect News Corp. to use negotiations for Fox News to bolster the launch of the new business channel, “[i.e., offer operators discounts on Fox News in exchange for carriage] as he believes the Fox Business content will stand on its own,” according to the UBS report.