Sunday, September 11, 2005

Next step on Rupert's Internet assault

Rupert Murdoch has been gathering his forces for the next step of his assault on the Internet. The Guardian's David Teather and Jane Martinson note that up to 45 of Murdoch's chief executives met this weekend near Carmel, California "for two days of private discussions on what he [Murdoch] has described as the company's highest priority: how to grapple with the threat and opportunity of the internet to the media empire he has spent a lifetime building."

As Doctor Media pointed out, Murdoch's News Corporation has, from almost a standing start, begun to build a significant web presence since the beginning of this year. It has formed an internet unit, Fox Interactive Media, that oversees its web activities. And with big-budget purchses of Intermix Media (including, a popular social networking site), IGN Entertainment, and (which will be integrated into News Corp's Fox Sports enterprises), NewsCorp has made a spash on the Internet, and Murdoch also apparently wishes to buy Blinkx, a search engine.

The Guardian article reports that these recent purchases now "gives News Corp 70 million unique users and 12bn monthly page views. That catapults it into the fourth-largest internet firm in the world by page impressions, behind Yahoo, Time Warner and MSN, according to the investment bank Merrill Lynch." That's a pretty scary statistic, considering that News Corp hasn't been on most people's Internet radar screens up till now.

Apparently the agenda at the Carmel meeting was dominated by "how to turn News Corp's web properties into a hub for entertainment-related content. One News Corp insider called the strategy an attempt to create an 'entertainment Google' -- a one-stop shop for all those looking for computer games, movies, music or chat online."


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