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Fox unifies Web biz

Levinsohn tapped to oversee interactive arm

NEW YORK — News Corp. has announced the creation of Fox Interactive Media to oversee the conglom’s collection of Web sites including Foxsports.com, Foxnews.com and Fox.com.

Ross Levinsohn, general manager of Fox Sports Interactive, is prexy of the new division. He’ll be based in Los Angeles.

“We believe the time is right for the launch of FIM, and we’re committed to devoting the resources to make it one of the premier companies on the Web,” News Corp. topper Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

News Corp. was the most cautious of the media congloms with regard to venturing onto the Web — an approach that drew criticism during the boom but made it look prescient after the bust.

As a result, News Corp. managed to avoid making the catastrophic Internet investments of many of its peers. However, the conglom’s caution has left it lagging as advertising dollars shift to the Web.

FIM will manage the interactive assets for all the Fox divisions, including the owned-and-operated television station Web properties.

“We’re convinced that by combining our Internet assets under one banner and making a few shrewd investments, we can quickly become one of the most exciting and innovative destinations on the Web,” said Levinsohn.

News Corp.’s biggest site, Fox.com, has 20 million unique visitors a month; Foxsports.com has 10 million; and Foxnews.com averages 6 million.

That total of 36 million compares to Time Warner’s 84 million unique home users per month, according to Nielsen/Netratings, Yahoo! 83 million and Walt Disney Internet Group’s 24 million.

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