News Corp. Hires Jonathan Miller to Head MySpace, Other Digital Properties

Former AOL CEO Must Turn Social Network's Users into Dollars

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NEW YORK ( -- Former AOL CEO Jonathan Miller is set to take a senior position overseeing all of News Corp.'s digital media properties, including MySpace, IGN Entertainment, Photobucket and the company's interest in video site, according to another News Corp. unit, The Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Miller formed the venture firm Velocity Interactive Group after he was ousted from the top job at AOL in November 2006. His current business partner at Velocity, ironically, is a former head of Fox Interactive Media, Ross Levinsohn. Mr. Levinsohn confirmed that Mr. Miller had been offered the News Corp. job on his blog.

Mr. Miller had an extensive non-compete agreement with Time Warner, which prevented him from joining the board of Yahoo last year. That agreement expires next week when he is expected to sign a deal that would have him report to News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.

News Corp. reshuffle
Mr. Miller will replace the current head of Fox Interactive Media, Peter Levinsohn (a distant cousin of Ross Levinsohn). Peter Levinsohn is expected to remain at News Corp. and to take a senior post at Fox's film and television studio.

The appointment comes during a shuffling of News Corp.'s executive ranks after the announcement that Mr. Murdoch's top lieutenant, President Peter Chernin, would leave the company when his contract expires in June.

Mr. Chernin had taken an active role in News Corp.'s digital strategy, particularly its investment in, which has parlayed exclusive distribution rights to NBC and Fox content to become a No. 2 video site in the U.S.

Mr. Chernin will not be replaced and his responsibilities are being divided between TV networks head Tony Vinciquerra and Fox studio executives Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman. In a memo on Mr. Chernin's departure just weeks ago, Mr. Murdoch said that Peter Levinsohn would remain in his job at the head of Fox Interactive Media.

Monetizing MySpace
But the switch illustrates the urgency to convert MySpace's 124 million monthly unique users into meaningful revenue. MySpace growth is slowing down and Facebook passed it in unique visitors and global registered users last year. MySpace has focused on developing its ad business over user growth, and is competing with portals like AOL and Yahoo for brand marketing dollars.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, News Corp. reported a $38 million operating loss in the division that includes MySpace, in part due to decreased contributions from Fox Interactive Media overall and costs of international expansion of MySpace and the launch of MySpace Music.

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