Blog Post

@ Media Week: More From Ross Levinsohn, President, FIM

Yes, you’re reading a lot about Ross Levinsohn here this week but that’s what happens when people making news are in the spotlight at consecutive conferences. We’ll have more on News Corp. later today when COO Peter Chernin speaks at CSFB. I tried to get a picture with my nifty new little camera but the lighting wasn’t right so you’ll have to trust me: after his session at UBS Tuesday, Levinsohn was surrounded by the largest group I’ve seen this week for more than 30 minutes — a symbol of the intense interest in what News Corp. and FIM are doing with their $1.4 billion investments (including retention deals) in, IGN and Scout. We spent a little time talking late in the day. Some highlights:

Following up on his announcements during the session:

— The deal between IGN and 20th Century Fox is along the lines of the deal the movie studio made recently with Movielink. Fox Digital Media manages the rights and licensing and negotiated the deal with FIM/IGN.

— The “Family Guy” originals being created for online distribution also will be available via mobile.

Pricing: Don’t be surprised if the download fees for Family Guy and similar Fox video is $1.99. “Wal-Mart sets the price,” Levinsohn said, comparing leaders in their respective markets. But Fox could try some variations like charging more for faster access, etc. “You can play with some pricing schemes,” he said.
Personal “portals”: During the session, Levinsohn showed a mock-up of what a future personal page could look like. The idea is for every page to be a personal portal of sorts. The plans for the concept, which will grow off, are not fully formed. For instance, the deicision on whether pages have to be public or can be limited access. Right now, he’s leaning toward all public. It’s at least six months away, possibly as long as a year. At the same time, he expects to have “deep verticals across all of our businesses.” may be the umbrella. Don’t call it a portal, though: “The notion of a portal is obsolete to me.”

Acquisitions: Nothing major is in the forecast. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen if the right property caught Chairman Rupert Murdoch’s eye but the emphasis is on continuing the current integration and building a foundation where future acquisitions could just plug in. FIM now has roughly 700 employees — 300 each from IGN and Intermix; another 100, including Scout, from Fox. Offices are in at least four locations: with News Corp. in New York, a building in LA that’s in the process of being built out, San Francisco and Seattle.