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News Corp to focus MySpace on entertainment

14 июля 2009

News Corp. will position its MySpace unit as a Web site for accessing entertainment and related information, said people familiar with the company's plans.

The strategy follows other recent moves by News Corp. to try to reinvigorate the social networking site as it steadily loses ground to Facebook Inc.

In a brief interview, News Corp. Chief Executive Rupert Murdoch said MySpace needs to be refocused "as an entertainment portal." Murdoch described his vision for MySpace as a place where "people are looking for common interests."

Murdoch made his comments this week on the sidelines of an annual meeting of media and technology executives in Sun Valley, Idaho. News Corp. also owns Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal and this newswire.

The News Corp. chief didn't elaborate on his plans for MySpace but his comments are consistent with what the company is considering, say people familiar with the situation. MySpace's plans aren't set yet but over the next few months the company will likely quietly roll out new features designed to transform itself into an entertainment destination, the people say.

The entertainment plan follows announcements last month by MySpace that it would cut 30% of its U.S. staff and up to two-thirds of its international staff. The cuts will leave the company with 1,000 U.S. employees and 150 international employees.

The moves follow a dramatic reversal of fortunes at MySpace as Facebook last year surpassed the company as the world's largest social networking site.

In May, MySpace had 70.2 million unique visitors in the United States, a 5% decline from a year earlier, according to comScore Inc. By comparison, Facebook's U.S. unique visitors have nearly doubled to 70.3 million, from 35.6 million a year earlier.

The entertainment tack is an attempt by MySpace to build on an existing strength as a Web site for recording artists and bands to showcase their music and find fans. The site is also second to Google Inc.'s YouTube in online video traffic, according to online measurement firm comScore. People familiar with MySpace's entertainment plans said the site will more heavily emphasize the music and video aspects of the site in coming months. In recent weeks, MySpace has also dropped its longtime tagline "a place for friends," and removed the ".com" from its name.

The plans are part of a broader retooling of News Corp.'s online strategy. In March, Murdoch installed Jonathan Miller, formerly chief executive of Internet company AOL, to oversee MySpace and News Corp.'s other digital properties. Soon after, the company hired Van Natta as chief executive of MySpace. Van Natta was an executive at Facebook.

Источник: Total Telecom

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