News Corp. eyes Miller to head digital

Peter Levinsohn expected to take on a different role

NEW YORK -- News Corp. is in advanced talks to hire former AOL CEO Jon Miller in a new broad role that would have him oversee all of the conglomerate's digital endeavors.

A final deal and announcement could come as early as next week, according to sources.

If signed, Miller would report directly to News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch and could carry the title of CEO of digital media, sources said.

He would be in charge of Fox Interactive Media, which houses top Web properties such as MySpace and IGN, mobile entertainment arm Jamba and would also drive News Corp.'s work on online video joint venture Hulu.com, in which NBC Universal is its partner. He would also be charged with driving digital work across all News Corp. units in collaboration with the unit heads.

Peter Levinsohn, currently president of Fox Interactive Media, would move into a different role, with sources saying he would be in charge of digital distribution at News Corp.'s TV and film studio operations. He would report to Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman, co-chairmen of Fox Filmed Entertainment, who recently added the company's TV production businesses to their portfolio.

News Corp. officials declined comment, as did Miller.

The Miller hire and related move of Levinsohn would be the latest change following the announcement that Peter Chernin will leave his role as News Corp. president and COO at the end of June. Murdoch and Chernin have in recent weeks worked on ensuring a streamlined executive structure that also allows the various News Corp. units to work together more closely.

Miller most recently has been a partner at digital media investment firm Velocity Interactive Group. The firm was created by the merger of Velocity Investment Group, which Miller co-founded with another former FIM president, Ross Levinsohn, and venture fund ComVentures.

Sources said Miller and Levinsohn made 14 investments in digital media companies together.

Miller has been looking at potentially returning to a major digital operating roles as of late. Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly wanted Miller to run a broadened digital arm in case he managed to buy all or parts of Yahoo.
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