Posted tagged ‘News Corp’

Rumor: Apple May Buy Hulu

July 22, 2011

If rumors are true, it appears that Apple could be considering a purchase of popular online video service Hulu.

From CNN:

The Hulu rumor mill was already heating up over the past few days — we reported about a bidding war for Hulu, which is shopping itself around to potential acquirers after deciding not to go through with a $2 billion IPO.

Sweetening the deal is a promise of five years of programming for Hulu’s highest bidder, including two years of exclusivity for the programming on Hulu, consisting of content from the Walt Disney Company, News Corp. and Comcast’s NBC Universal.

While Microsoft is reportedly not interested in a second round of bidding for the online video company, Yahoo is still in play.

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Can Justin Timberlake Bring Sexy Back to Myspace? Maybe…

July 1, 2011

Like most of us these days, I consider myself a member of Team Facebook. To be honest, the thought of Myspace still being around hadn’t even crossed my mind until it was announced this week that News Corp. had sold its struggling social network to Irvine-based Specific Media for $35 million. Obviously, this is a huge financial hit for News Corp. after paying $580 million for the social networking site back in 2005.

According to their press release, former N’Sync star Justin Timberlake will also take an ownership stake and play a major role in developing the creative direction and strategy for the company moving forward.  I have to imagine that it was Timberlake’s popularity, and his involvement in the music industry, that were the key draws to Specific Media. With Timberlake’s help, the new owners will look to rejuvenate MySpace and transform it into a destination for original shows, as well as bolster its already available video content and music.

So, does anybody else find it ironic that Timberlake starred as Facebook investor Sean Parker in the critically acclaimed Hollywood hit The Social Network last year? Equally as ironic is that Parker recently sat down with Jimmy Fallon at the NExTWORK Conference where he explained why Myspace surrendered to Facebook. You can read about it, and see video of the interview here.

Anyways, it’s hard to look back now and imagine that MySpace had been the most popular social network until it said “Bye, Bye, Bye” two years ago when it was passed in popularity by Facebook. But, according to comScore, the network still has approximately 35 million visitors in the United States per month, compared with more than 157 million for Facebook, and that’s still a decent user base to build on.

So the question remains: will Timberlake bring sexy back to Myspace or will he be left crying a river in the near future? In a statement, Timberlake stated: “There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect. Myspace has the potential to be that place.”

A USA Today article stated that Myspace Music has a catalog of 38 million songs and 700,000 musicians. That’s definitely a good start! I have to admit, the one aspect of Myspace that I enjoyed was how I was able to easily connect with bands on their site. Many of my favorite bands even ditched their traditional websites for Myspace pages.

Specific Media will also leverage the Myspace infrastructure to deploy socially-activated advertising campaigns, enabling brands to turn their campaigns viral by allowing users to share their favorite ads with friends. This isn’t surprising as Specific Media was founded back in 1999 to address the needs of the growing online advertising space. Over the past decade, the company has developed into one of the world’s largest online advertising companies, with capabilities spanning original programming, addressable advertising, and cross-media distribution.

But is Myspace still relevant and can Timberlake bring the star power needed to revive the struggling social network?

In an interview with AdAge, Specific Media CEO Tim Vanderhook stated that “The one thing we were looking for immediately was bringing Justin Timberlake in — we were looking for someone to drive creative strategy.” Vanderhook also noted that “Justin is a very busy person with many careers. He will have an office in MySpace, and he’ll have a team there. Probably not going to be there every day.”

His own office at Myspace’s Beverly Hills headquarters? Not bad…I hope his deal comes with “No Strings Attached”.

Specific Media and Timberlake are planning a press conference later this summer where they are expected to reveal their vision for Myspace. I’m sure at that time we’ll learn more about their future plans, but for now, I’m at least a little bit interested. I can’t say that I’ll go back and update my Myspace page right away (if I even still have one), but I won’t rule out the possibility.

With Facebook being the dominant social networking site today, do you expect to see users jumping ship? Will the addition of Justin Timberlake make you say “I Want You Back” to Myspace? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

MySpace Lays Off More Than 400 Workers

June 16, 2009

MySpace said today that it plans to slash nearly 30 percent of its workforce, or more than 400 workers.

From CNN:

Once the world’s largest online social network, MySpace has struggled to compete with the rapid user growth of rivals Facebook and Twitter. Usership and average time spent on the Web site have decreased over the past several months.

“Simply put, our staffing levels were bloated and hindered our ability to be an efficient and nimble team-oriented company,” said MySpace Chief Executive Owen Van Natta. “Our intent is to return to an environment of innovation that is centered on our user and our product.”

MySpace Could Have Purchased Facebook For Just $75 Million

January 26, 2009

This falls under the category of “Looking back, I should have made this deal”.

From Silicon Alley Insider:

According to a new book on MySpace, four years ago, MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe met with Facebook cofounder Mark Zuckerberg and the pair talked merger. Eventually Mark asked Chris if MySpace wanted to buy Facebook for $75 million.

Chris said no.

By Fall of 2005 — after a summer that saw News Corp pay $580 million for MySpace — Chris and Mark met again. This time Mark put the price tag at $750 million.

Chris said no, again.

In June 2007, Chris and MySpace cofounder Tom Anderson asked News Corp for two-year, $50 million contract.

In Fall 2007, Microsoft bought 1.6% of Facebook for $240 million — a $15 billion valuation that’s since deflated to somewhere around $4 billion.

Last week, Comscore confirmed that Facebook draws twice as much traffic as MySpace.

Oops.

Of course, given the slow pace of innovation at MySpace since its acquisition by News Corp, its entirely possible Facebook would never have become the cultural touchstone it is today under Chris and Tom’s leadership instead of Mark’s.

Google, Facebook Fighting to Connect Friends

December 4, 2008

Google and Facebook have announced the availability of competing authentication systems that enable Internet users to sign in to third-party Web sites using either their Facebook or Google Account login details.

From CNET:

Google, likely in reaction to the official rollout of Facebook Connect, has opened up its universal log-in system, Google Friend Connect. Journalists on Thursday received a hurried e-mail saying, “Starting today, any website owner is welcome to add Friend Connect to his or her website — no need to be whitelisted. We’ll be posting on the Official Google Blog soon with additional details.”

As with Facebook Connect, the advantage to users on Friend Connect sites is that they can register using a log-in that they’re comfortable with and probably use every day–their Google or GMail ID and password.

Friend Connect appears somewhat easier and more straightforward to implement than Facebook Connect. Also, Friend Connect is linked to Open Social. “Any website that implements Friend Connect becomes an OpenSocial container, capable of running OpenSocial applications,” the e-mail said.

Friend Connect can also update social services like Orkut and Plaxo, but nothing with the size of Facebook’s network.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Facebook Inc. is taking a big step toward linking its social network with entertainment, media and other Web sites as the Internet company seeks new ways to accelerate its growth.

The Palo Alto, Calif., start-up Thursday announced the general availability of its Facebook Connect service. The previously announced service allows Web sites to let Facebook users log into their sites with Facebook accounts, eliminating the need for users to establish multiple log-ins and profiles for multiple sites. Consumers can then share the personal information they store on Facebook, such as updates about their activities, with other sites for a more personalized experience.

Facebook has been testing the new service for months. It is one of several that is trying to make it easier for people to share personal data across a variety of sites. MySpace.com, owned by Wall Street Journal owner News Corp., has launched a similar service, and Google Inc. on Thursday announced the general availability of a service called Friend Connect, which has a similar aim.