The latest chapter in the transformation of Fox Mobile from its old position as neglected stepchild in the News Corp (NSDQ: NWS) family: the company is getting renamed Jesta Digital, and it is officially naming a new CEO, Jason Aintabi, who is also the U.S. president of the Jesta Group, the company that acquired the mobile outfit in December.
Mark Anderson, the COO of the mobile group, will continue his role and report to Aintabi. Aintabi is not replacing anyone as the CEO position had been vacant since Mauro Montanaro had left back in December 2009. The rest of the company’s reporting structure will also remain the same, says the company.
The rebranding is the latest chapter for a company that didn’t exactly thrive under News Corp. The company, initially in a JV with Verisign, had acquired assets like ringtone kings Jamba/Jamster at the height of their popularity, but had not done a huge amount to leverage those mobile assets with the rest of those in News Corp.
Now the group is part of a much smaller company that is using the assets as the basis for its first foray into digital media — its background is in a quite different area, property management, with some enterprise IT thrown in. That may mean more investment, and at least more attention, to the properties in the longer term.
But it’s still unclear what direction the company will take longer term. Dropping the “mobile” for “digital” could give one clue, athough its assets are in fact largely mobile at this point.
One area that Jesta Digital is keen to pursue is its Bitbop operation, a “Hulu-like” service that offers mobile video streams for a number of top shows, for a set price per month. Last week, Bitbop launched a partnership with Verizon to preload its app on Verizon’s LTE devices, and it is planning to launch in Germany later this year, before considering further markets.
We’re speaking with Jesta Digital later and will update this post after that.
Update: Joe Bilman, EVP of global products and chief architect of Bitbop at Jesta Digital, confirms that, yes, they’ve dropped the “mobile” part of their name for “digital” because they hope to eventually widen out the kind of content they produce and the channels they produce it for. No more details on this yet, though.
Turns out, too, that Jesta had been speaking with management of Fox Mobile for at least a year before the acquisition was announced.
That means that even though Jesta comes from outside the mobile industry, they’ve gotten to know the management team, and their vision of where they would like the company to go, quite well.