Many others have noted this already, so I’ll just toss in my red cent – with Ross Levinsohn leaving Fox Interactive (as with Miller, he’s credited with success), and being replaced by a “seasoned television executive,” just as Miller was, it’s clear major media companies are in the mood to consolidate and leverage the investments they’ve made in online, now that they are certain the properties can make money. While one can quibble with MySpace’s ability to make money on traditional advertising, you can’t argue with $900 million from Google over the next few years. And AOL’s advertising business has been growing nicely in the past few quarters.
But putting traditional media execs in charge of these properties may not be the wisest move. First, it will take at least a year for them to grok what is going on and figure out the lay of the land. That’s a long time to wait, while more nimble natives like Google and Yahoo eat your lunch. And second, well, these are not folks who took risks and lived the space early, and when forced to make decisions, they might make the wrong ones. On the other hand, maybe this is a sign our industry is maturing. We’ll know in a year or so.
I am sure there is far more to this than meets the press, with stories on both sides. Both Miller and Levinsohn were kind enough to wait until the week *after* Web 2 to leave their posts, so I could unwittingly interview lame ducks on stage. So far, my first interview on stage – Eric Schmidt – still has his job, as do Ray Ozzie, David Filo, and Barry Diller. But watch out, guys. These things do come in threes….