Posted tagged ‘News Corporation’

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.

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