By Keith Weir
LONDON, Jan 23 (Reuters) - News International has bought rights to show online clips of action from English Premier League soccer games to help to drive subscriptions to its newspaper websites.
News International is the British newspaper arm of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp empire. Murdoch has a history of using sporting rights to encourage subscribers to sign up for pay television services.
"Goal! We won the rights in the UK to show clips of all 380 Premier league matches on the Sun, Times & Sunday Times digital/mobile apps," Murdoch said in a message on the Twitter social media website.
The three-year agreement announced on Wednesday covers the use of clips on both the internet and mobile devices.
"This is a major breakthrough for the company, allowing us to combine our rich heritage with cutting edge technology to transform the experience we are offering our subscribers," said News International CEO Mike Darcey.
"They will now have access to the most compelling moments in the most competitive football league in the world at a time, place and format that suits them," he added.
News International operates the websites of The Times and Sunday Times on a subscription basis and also has a paid-for app for its top-selling Sun tabloid.
The rights were previously divided between Yahoo for online and the ESPN sports channel, which had them for mobile devices. Yahoo sold clips on to a number of British newspapers who are now set to lose that access.
BSkyB, part owned by News Corp, also said it had agreed a new three-year deal with the Premier League to show extended highlights of games not screened live.
The agreement will allow Sky to continue to show its Football First highlights programme on a Saturday night.
BSkyB and new market entrant BT have agreed to pay a total of more than 3 billion pounds for live British rights to Premier League matches in a three-year deal starting in August.
The Premier League, the world's richest, is in the process of concluding a round of overseas rights contracts. The total value of the rights - domestic and foreign - is forecast to top 5 billion pounds over the next three years.