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News Corp buys online soccer rights in Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia

By Jennifer Saba

(Reuters) - News Corp has secured rights to show online digital clips for English Premier League soccer and other leagues in Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia, coinciding with the launch of new Internet and mobile products later this week.

The mobile app and website are News Corp's first product rollouts since it separated from the cable, television and movie studio assets now known as 21st Century Fox Inc in July.

"It is pretty significant for the new News Corp," Chief Executive Robert Thomson said in an interview, adding this is the new company's first investment outside the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.

"We're making it mobile oriented, it's not newspapers," he said. Thomson declined to provide financial details about the investment.

The new News Corp owns The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, HarperCollins, Australian pay-TV assets and education division Amplify.

News Corp has been ramping up its sports digital portfolio as a way to broaden its audience and entice readership. The company said earlier this year it bought the rights to show online clips from English Premier League games to drive subscriptions to its British newspapers including The Sun and The Times of London.

The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times all require paid, online subscriptions for people to read content.

The latest agreement for Premier League online rights coincides with the start of the 2013 season. News Corp has an exclusive an 3-year agreement to show game highlights in Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia, it announced on Monday.

News Corp also struck deals in the same countries with other leagues including Germany's Bundesliga, France's Ligue 1, Italy's Serie A, England's FA Cup, Championship and Capital One Cup, Brazilian Championship and Major League Soccer.

(Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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