Rupert Keith Murdoch (73), chairman of global media group News Corporation, concluded a meeting on internet strategy last week by promising he'd spend more time surfing the internet.

Given that the NewsCorp honcho is disinclined to spend time on anything that doesn't germinate dollar bills, most observers assume an imminent surge of group online activity.

This assumption was confirmed Friday by an announcement that NewsCorp has hired McKinsey & Company to help it develop a new internet strategy.

Although the group declined to elaborate on McK's brief, insiders say it will advise on the improvement of co-ordination between the group's network television, publishing, film and newspaper assets - including the role to be played by the internet.

The web strategy meeting, billed as "introductory", was attended by some fifty senior NewsCorp managers. They were instructed to accelerate use of existing group websites to capitalise on the growth in internet downloading and online advertising.

According to one anonymous manager present at the meeting: "It's quite a long-term process for NewsCorp to figure out how it can use its assets. The company is thinking about brand-building on the web."

Added the mole: "It was not looking at acquisitions, but what everyone is doing on the web and what the next step should be internally."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff