The Buzz

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Aahh, the Internet: the medium to ruin any number of media-mogul legacies. Getting it right has been a decade-long headache for big media: Time Warner's ill-fated wedding with AOL, Disney's bet on, and Primedia's much-derided purchase of

The latest to take the plunge is Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which is acquiring and sport site, said earlier this month it has set aside in excess of $1 billion for other Internet acquisitions. Last week, reports surfaced News Corp. was in talks to buy a stake in, which specializes in video and podcasting, an Australian property,, and U.S.-based VOIP service Skype.

There's no doubt Mr. Murdoch is serious this time about getting it right. But certain media types who've been around long enough say News Corp.'s tried this Internet thingy before. Anyone remember the $400 million deal with telecom company MCI 10 years ago? What about Delphi? How about Healtheon/WebMD? Or does PointCast ring any bells?

"There's this grope for growth going on," says Tim Hanlon, VP-director of emerging contacts for Starcom MediaVest Group. "I don't see the synergies. ... Rupert Murdoch and other big companies are coming from a heritage of business subscription cable, the Internet is a far different thing. It is a whole different zeitgeist than top down media."

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