Former *AOL* head Jonathan Miller told Fortune that Velocity Interactive, the VC firm he founded with Ross Levinsohn, wasn’t a “parking spot” for him until he found another big corporate job. But Miller has reportedly landed an even meatier position: he’ll be heading up digital at News Corp.. Nikke Finke broke the news, which AllThingsD and paidContent have confirmed. A News Corp (NYSE: NWS). spokeswoman declined comment.
— Bigger than FIM: As chief digital officer, Miller will oversee all of News Corp.’s digital properties worldwide, reporting directly to Rupert Murdoch. Meanwhile, Pete Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media, will move into a new role, overseeing the digital and mobile distribution efforts of News Corp.’s film and TV studios. (More on that below.)
Staci adds: A couple of quick points … technically the deal isn’t done: Miller still has to finish his non-compete with AOL (NYSE: TWX) before signing; the company was planning an announcement next week. In fact, his proposed appointment to the Yahoo board last summer was stymied by a Time Warner veto. That didn’t stop Miller’s name from being bandied about for major media jobs, including CEO of Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO).
Photo Credit: jdlasica
Also, this isn’t the job his Velocity partner Ross Levinsohn held when he built FIM and it isn’t one that News Corp. has had before. The heads of FIM’s business units — MySpace, Photobucket, IGN, Fox Sports Interactive, the FIM Audience Network, etc — will report to Miller and, for now, the FIM structure stays in place. Mobile business Jamba also will report to him. But a source familiar with the situation said Miller’s role with many of the other digital businesses in News Corp. will be strategic, rather than operational. Even that would be a departure.
– Hulu: Miller will be responsible for News Corp.’s interest in Hulu and is likely to be on the board; News Corp. execs, including Chernin, currently fill three spots on the board of the joint venture with NBC Universal (NYSE: GE). (Before he left News Corp., Ross Levinsohn was involved in the plans that eventually became Hulu.) How this will effect any negotiations currently underway — including the discussions with Disney (NYSE: DIS) we reported on earlier and talks with CBS (NYSE: CBS) — remains to be seen.
– M&A: Also an unknown: whether Miller will have money to spend on acquisitions now that the prices News Corp. helped to jack up by buying MySpace, IGN and the rest of FIM are coming back to earth in the recession.
– Pete Levinsohn: Levinsohn’s new role — title still to be determined, I gather — is a tad back to the future given his previous role as president of Fox Digital Media but I am told it is larger. In addition to being responsible for all digital content distribution for all film and television properties, Levinsohn will be responsible for building sustainable business models around that content.