Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Murdoch catches up fast

Rupert Murdoch (compliments of Wikipedia)

In the beginning of May I wrote the following digest of an article on Rupert Murdoch under the heading Murdoch is converted!. “It has taken quite a while, but now at last the tycoon has seen the light. In May at a luncheon of the American Society of Newspaper Editors Rupert Murdoch, owner of more than 175 English-language newspapers worldwide, urged newspaper editors to grab on to the digital revolution, stop fearing or ignoring the power of the Web, and do more to serve the young news consumers between 18 and 34 years of age who are more and more going to the Internet for information.

In his speech he admitted that he had taken unconventional approaches in television, but had been lagging behind with the developments regarding Internet. However he did not indicate what he measures he was taking to get in the league again”.

By now we know, however. Having brought his editors-in-chief from all over the world together for a brainstorming session in New York in September and the public confession mentioned above, he started a new company Fox Interactive Media (FIM) and named Ross Levinsohn as President. One of his fist actions was to buy MySpace and Intermix for 580 US dollar. MySpace is a social software company like LinkedIN, e-Academy and OpenBC. With MySpace FIM bought content assets in entertainment and traffic.

Is this a wise acquisition? Recently the New York Times bought This also had content assets and a lot of traffic. One of the assets was a series of blogs about anything, whether about my home town Utrecht or about medieval miniatures. The site has some blogs that are heavily visited, but also many that have a small crowd of faithful followers. Het gaat in feite om een site met een Long Tail.

As to the social software sites I am not so sure of their success. Yes, they are hot presently, but going towards lukewarm IMHO. I hate the Monday morning mail of OpenBC, telling me my contact statistics; making me feel guilty for not actively hunting for links; hinting to me that I should become a premium (= paying) member. It is something for network tigers: please link to me than I have scored so many links. But do you get assignments this way? Yet as a closed system for an international organisation such as the European Academy of Digital Media, the Instructors’ Network or the jury of the World Summit Award it would be great.

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