Fox Buys Photobucket

NEW YORK Fox Interactive Media has made a pair of acquisitions that deepen the company’s commitment to user-generated content.

As expected, the News Corp.-owned Web division has snatched up the photo-sharing site Photobucket.com, which reached 19 million unique users based on April 2007 figures from comScore Media Metrix, making it one of the larger remaining independent properties on the Internet.

In addition, Fox has landed Flektor, a complementary startup firm that produces several digital photo and video editing tools. Financial terms were not disclosed for either deal.

Though it has been challenging to monetize photo sharing on the Web, the most obvious way Fox can utilize its two new assets would be to enhance MySpace, which is increasingly a multimedia playground for its millions of users. Already, 47 percent of all Photobucket users link their Web-posted digital photos to social networks like MySpace.

Besides MySpace, Fox officials said that Photobucket and Flektor would be used to bolster the company’s other Web brands, including the gamer-centric IGN and FoxSports.com.

“The acquisition of these two companies is a perfect strategic fit for us that reinforces Fox’s leadership in user-generated content,” said Fox Interactive Media president Peter Levinsohn.

“As a leading site for creative expression Photobucket extends our reach among personal media-sharing enthusiasts, and the innovative new entrant Flektor brings highly differentiated new tools to the table that will drive the next generation. Together, they represent a powerful combination and we are thrilled for them to join our network,” he said.