Ex-AOL chief would oversee digital operations

Former AOL chief Jon Miller is poised to join News Corp. in a newly created role overseeing all digital operations for the global media giant.

The appointment of Miller, who was most recently a partner in venture capital shingle Velocity Interactive Group, is expected to be announced this week. Miller would report directly to News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch.

As part of Miller’s appointment, current Fox Interactive Media prexy Peter Levinsohn, who oversees MySpace among other News Corp. digital properties, is expected to move to the 20th Century Fox side for a new post under film chiefs Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos. Levinsohn will oversee digital distribution for all of the studio’s film and TV productions.

A News Corp. rep declined comment late Friday.

Miller exited his post as chairman and CEO of AOL in 2006, and shortly afterward co-founded the L.A. and Silicon Valley-based investment firm Velocity, which merged with another venture capital firm to form Velocity Interactive Group in late 2007.

During his tenure at AOL, Miller was credited with radically revamping the company’s focus from being an Internet service provider to a largely dial-up customer base into an a Web content destination with marquee offerings like the webcasts of the worldwide Live 8 benefit concerts in 2005.

Miller’s gig at News Corp. marks the most wide-ranging digital job that Murdoch’s fiefdom has created to date.

News Corp. snapped up the parent company of MySpace in 2005 but has struggled to squeeze significant profits out of the social networking behemoth. News Corp.’s other major digital investments include co-ownership with NBC Universal of Internet vid distrib Hulu, which has had a fast start but has yet to turn a profit for its partners.

Before AOL, Miller served as president of USA Information Services, a predecessor of Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp., and prior to that he served as managing director of Nickelodeon Intl.

During his stint as a venture capitalist, Miller’s firm has invested in a handful of digital media, tech and communications ventures, as well as in the management/production shingle Generate, headed by Jordan Levin.

Ironically, Miller’s partners at Velocity include Ross Levinsohn, who was Peter Levinsohn’s predecessor as prexy of Fox Interactive Media (the two are cousins).

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