This has been rumbling under the surface for some time now, but
it seems that News
Corp has embarked on what might turn out to be a major
acquisition spree. NC was extremely cautious during the late
1990s dotcom boom, but early in 2005, Rupert Murdoch made a few
high profile speeches about how he now 'got' the Internet was
reshaping news and entertainment media. He now wants to turn the
company into an 'entertainment Google' - a first port(al) of call
for a young digital generation looking for entertainment content.
It's particularly interesting that he places virtual community
sites like myspace.com at the centre of this. However, there are
also some more obvious moves, like buying Scout.com - a major
network of sports sites, or IGN, a gaming network.
As the Guardian article states, in a matter of a few weeks, NC
has become the "fourth largest Internet firm in the world" - as
measured by page impressions, "behind Yahoo, Time Warner and MSN".
It's also likely that we'll see greater convergence
of NC's Internet, film studio and television interests
(particularly DirecTV in the US and Sky/SkyPlus in the UK) over
the coming period.
Update: it seems that convergence fever is spreading,
with eBay's acquisition
of VOIP software company, Skype. How long before ''Talk with this
seller" buttons appear on the auction listings?