Fox Interactive CEO Talks Up MySpace

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NEW YORK -- Adweek Magazines' Digital Marketing Conference began yesterday with keynote speaker Ross Levinsohn, president of News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media unit. And who knew this fact: The year-old division already is No. 2 in page views behind Yahoo.

The Fox Interactive network of roughly 20 sites had more than 30 billion hits, Mr. Levinsohn claimed. He credits much of this success to the division's acquisition of MySpace.com, which has about 84 million members.

Mr. Levinsohn asked the crowd how many of them had profiles on MySpace. When a little less than half raised their hands, he encouraged the rest to enroll on the social networking site popular with the under-25 crowd.

"I may be a little older than the MySpace crowd," he said. "Right now, I only have about 40 friends. So sign up, I'm www.myspace.com/rosslevinsohn."

Aside from upping the count on his friend list, Mr. Levinsohn may have additional motives for signing up more people.

He said that Fox Interactive is increasingly using MySpace and other tools that let users respond about their interests and supply contact information to help marketers target a specific audience.

Other social networking Web sites owned by Fox Interactive include video game fan site IGN Entertainment and movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. The company sites are not just providing content or promoting products to prospective clients, however. Mr. Levinsohn said that the Internet is a place for interaction.

"Kids don't have a way to express themselves, and that's led to the rise of social networking," he said. "It's all about getting them to interact and express themselves. We are starting to take a different mindset. We don't want them to sit back and be passive."

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