News Corp. boss reorganizes Fox Interactive, cans top sales guy

Fox Interactive Media — the unit overseeing MySpace and other News Corp. online properties — will miss its fiscal-year revenue projections of $1 billion by more than 10 percent, or $100 million, the WSJ reports. As a result, Fox Interactive chief revenue officer Michael Barrett is out of a job. The big problem is making money off of MySpace. It has lots of users, but as MySpace advertising partner Google has discovered, brands don't want to put their product next to Tila Tequila. So now MySpace is going to try something we thought Facebook would do — create an ad network that targets MySpace members when they visit third-party sites. It'll be called the "Fox Interactive Media Audience Network," and Adam Bain will run it. PaidContent obtained a memo from Peter Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive Media on the reshuffling and it's pasted below.

All,

Since its inception nearly three years ago, FIM and its properties have experienced phenomenal growth and success as a result of your collective efforts. You have worked diligently to create the largest, most innovative content communities in the world, and, as a company, we are now prepared to take the next step in our evolution.

That next step involves two things: 1) leveraging our industry-leading advertising technologies to create an entirely new business for the company and 2) more closely aligning our products and revenue. We will achieve this alignment through a restructure of our sales and advertising groups that will begin to take effect in the coming weeks.

FIM Audience Network

First, we have created a new business unit called the FIM Audience Network.

Despite the press in our industry about the challenges of monetizing social media, we have built amazing Hyper Targeting and Optimization technologies that dramatically improve our ability to provide better advertising solutions to our clients. Given these strengths, Adam Bain - who has been so instrumental in developing this capability - has been promoted to President of the new unit.

Adam's team will be comprised of FIM's ad technology, ad operations and performance sales groups. Their charter will be to optimize monetization across FIM's content network and those of other third-party publishers. The merging of these groups into a single business unit will provide our family of brands and new third-party clients with the ability to extend their reach and enhance their advertising effectiveness across a vast online audience.

Integrated Sales

In addition to the creation of the FIM Audience Network, we will be integrating our branded sales teams (including client solutions, sales development, and traffic generation) into the operating businesses that they support.

This change recognizes that our individual business units have evolved to a point where it is clear they are best served by dedicated professionals who live and breathe those products alone.

For example, at MySpace we have launched our developer platform, unveiled incredible new features and functionality and, just today, announced our landmark joint venture with leaders in the music industry to form MySpace Music. In order to maximize the benefits of these events it is essential for our product and sales team to work hand in hand.

By integrating the sales teams in this way, each operating unit will be empowered to assume responsibility for its revenue, growth and profitability. Further, each operating group will be afforded greater flexibility to implement processes and programs that meet the unique needs of their respective markets.

Since the sales teams will now be integrated with their respective brands, we will no longer have a separate FIM Revenue Group. In the two years that he's been here, Michael Barrett has built a phenomenal sales team and driven tremendous results - helping to exceed our News Corp estimates and achieve profitability as a division. His efforts have primed FIM to take this important step in the next phase of our growth, and I want to thank him for his contributions. Michael will remain with the company for the next two months to guide the transition before moving on to pursue new endeavors.

Members of affected groups will be transitioning in the next few weeks and will hear more details from their respective leaders.

Closing

This reorganization is a milestone for FIM that will create many exciting changes and opportunities for each of you, as well as for our company going forward.

I am confident that we are moving in the right direction to secure our long-term success, and I am certain that we have the right leadership team in place to take us there.

I'm very proud of all of you, and I thank you for your ongoing commitment to the organization.

Thank you.