Paid Content listened to Rupert Murdoch's earnings call (bless them) and had this to report about Murdoch's local musings (which are full of hubris of course):
Murdoch sent a wake-up call to local online players, ticking off the lengthy list of local properties in the U.S. — 35 o-and-o TV stations, 21 regionl sports nets, print, existing web sites. "We already have the assets to be a dominant player" in online local. "We go deeper with more resources than virtually anyone else … We plan to exploit that advantage."
Also of interest (in this post MySpace acquisition phase):
…Murdoch said the company is in "advanced negotiations" to buy controlling interest in a search company…
If this comes to pass it will be interesting to see. Who is it?
There aren't any more large consumer brands on the block (Ask was #4 in traffic) and it falls off from there. While Fox/FIM could potentially build a consumer search destination (with US$billions), it's probably better off buying enabling search technology and using its own brands as a front door to proprietary content.
The fact that Murdoch (like Diller) wants to make a big splash in local reflects a number of things; among them the growing recognition of the importance of local (incl. multi-channel) and the beginnings of what can't really be called "maturation" at this point, but is something like it — and finally the hints of further consolidation to come in the next 12 to 24 months.
It only gets more competitive from here as search, portals, directories, newspapers, verticals, cable and local TV affiliates (and let's not forget consolidated media empires) all compete for eyeballs and advertisers in the interactive local media market.
John Battelle repeats a rumor that the search engine that Murdoch may invest in is LookSmart.
Bloomberg piece on Murdoch's determination to get in the search game and the cash he's willilng to spend.
More from the NY Times