New-media inroads too risky to bypass

New-media inroads too risky to bypass 1As an eventful year draws to a close, there are troubling signs that some media companies are settling into an artificial status quo and abated entrepreneurial risk-taking that could take the edge off of digital broadband growth. There are a handful of potential deals on the horizon that would dramatically reshape the industry landscape in 2007.

For instance, Peter Chernin, News Corp.’s president and chief operating officer, last week confirmed that its Fox Interactive Media unit will focus more on operations than on additional deals like its successful acquisition of MySpace. That shift in thinking resulted in the recent departure of FIM executive officer Ross Levinsohn, who brainstormed the MySpace deal and maintains that such bold investments must prevail if traditional media companies want to realize extraordinary growth in such emerging new fields as social networking and user-generated content. Had he stayed at FIM, Levinsohn likely would have streamlined production processes and solidified content assets to strengthen profit margins while reinvesting in more startups and new-media ventures.