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Former AOL (NYSE: TWX) exec Joanna Shields and Shine Group Chairman and CEO Elisabeth Murdoch on are creating a content company from the ground up, AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher reported, citing unidentified sources. Shields confirmed the report to paidContent and provided some more information. The company, as yet un-named, will focus on investment, development and “cross-discipline” partnerships to fuse the traditional TV production “with the reach, power and engagement of social media.” The company also “will drive the online exploitation” of Shine Group content; Shine owns Revielle (Ugly Betty), Shine TV (Merlin) and three other production labels. Shields, who left AOL last May, starts as CEO effective Oct. 1.
A one-time *Google* executive based in Europe, Shields stepped up in February to head the People Networks ((now dissolved into other groups) after serving as president of Bebo, the social net AOL bought in March 2008 for $850 million — an acquisition that Time Warner execs eventually may have come to regret but continue to defend. After Tim Armstrong joined AOL as CEO, he decided to eliminate the People Networks and shuffle its assets, which include AIM and the ICQ desktop and mobile clients, amid a broader restructuring. Shields told paidContent that she was contractually required to stay on with AOL for a year and had always planned to move on after that.
This new venture will be based in London. It’s being backed by both Murdoch and Shields and will operate under the Shine Group umbrella; Shields will also join the group