Murdoch’s News Corporation Acquires IGN Entertainment for $650 Million
Look out America, Rupert Murdoch is doing the same thing he did with cable in the ’90’s and network TV in the ’80’s, he’s writing checks and entering a new media to conquer. Well, its not really just Rupert, its News Corp, which is expanding its dominance of the US and World media from the TV set and onto labtops and desktops – especially those of 15-29 year olds. Yes, News Corp, the same people that have challenged the intellectual well-being of the average US citizen wih such masterpieces as FOX NEWS, Married With Children, the New York Post, Animals Gone Wild, Joe Billionaire and Bill O’Reilly (ok, jokes aside, and The Simpsons).
Look out Ask Jeeves, Yahoo, AOL and Google, there’s a new player in town with a bankroll backed by new investments by the Saudis and they are quite serious. Adding to its plan to dominate the young adult online market, News Corporation announced last week that they are buying the video game/entertainment network IGN Entertainment for $650 million in cash. “The acquisition of IGN adds a significant visitor base in the gaming sector, and increases Fox’s exposure among the prized 18- to 34-year-old male audience,” said Jack Flanagan, senior vice president of comScore Media Metrix. “The acquisition is a good complement to the company’s other assets in the online space.”
The IGN buy makes perfect sense for News Corp after they dished out $580 million for the MySpace social networking community. Targeting the youth demographic is not the only reason Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp bought MySpace, the music savvy social network. Murdoch may be planning to use MySpace as a channel to set up a competitor to MTV, hitting the young generation online, and expanding the brand to the existing cable and TV airwaves as well. Additionally, it was reported that Skype – the VOIP messaging network, was in talks with News Corp which fell through. Youth, games, music, communication, news… what’s left? Search.
Just as Barry Diller’s acquisition of Ask Jeeves will tie his network together, Murdoch will have to look for the center of his web offerings. In August Murdoch told his stockholders that “News Corp is in “advanced negotiations” to buy controlling interest in a search company.” Rumors have been bouncing around that the search company Murdoch was referring to is Blinkx, the multimedia search engine; which would be a major piece of the puzzle. Blinkx searches video feeds, TV episodes, news, and even uses speech recognition technology to index the audio of its indexed clips. In addition to its multimedia search, at Blinkx.TV, Blinkx also offers a desktop search tool which connects users with search results across major partnered sources.
It will be interesting to sit back and see how News Corp pulls of its web coup and which targets they go after with acquisition. IGN and MySpace were great pick ups, I do hope they continue to build smartly. News Corp has its critics, but it is a company which incredibly understands its target demographic.