There were a couple of interesting moves at some big media companies this week: first, AOL's CEO, Jon Miller, left the company and was replaced by the president of NBC Universal, Randy Falco. Then, Ross Levinsohn, the head of Fox Interactive Media, which oversees MySpace among other things, left the company and has been replaced by the head of Fox Entertainment's digital media group (who's also, incidentally, named Levinsohn and is Ross' cousin). Falco's credentials are impressive, but they're decidedly old media, making him a curious choice for a company like AOL, while the new Levinsohn's been with Fox for nearly 20 years, most recently working on rights issues and revenue-sharing agreements, so he doesn't sound like a guy that's going to be any sort of visionary new-media leader. As Om Malik notes, it's odd that these companies are turning to old-media leaders to run their new-media operations, but somehow it isn't that surprising given that much of their new-media strategies have been to turn things into old media. These companies don't seem to realize that they're not competing against TV channels, paper publications and movie studios in this space; they're up against the likes of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and other internet heavyweights. Competing against them requires leadership that understands them and understands the space, and it's hard to see how bringing execs seasoned in old media and old business models will help move them forward.
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