The past several days MySpace, the social networking site that really started it all, has been doing a heavy round of press outreach to talk about their new direction and how the News Corp. owned entity is attempting to reinvent itself.
MySpace is a business badly in need of reinventing itself. After starting the social media revolution, the site has seen an alarming decline in popularity and traffic. At the same time, once rival Facebook continues to dominate the market and grow at an ungodly pace. So what can be done to save the once all-powerful MySpace?
I am not sure.
This latest media blitz is intriguing to me. With MySpace part of the News Corp. family, it’s hard to understand how the brilliant (or sinister, depending on your view of him) Rupert Murdoch has allowed this once proud and fast-growing business to decline so. Especially in an environment where all of his other businesses are defying the continued slide and lack of profitability in the traditional media sector. News Corp. is perhaps the only bright spot at a time when media are dying on a daily basis.
To turn around MySpace, Murdoch has decided to go with a two-headed monster to head up this revamp. In Co-Presidents Jason Hirschhorn and Mike Jones, Murdoch hopes the hemmoraging can stop and the business can once be profitable and, perhaps in concert, relevant again.
Will they succeed? It’s hard to believe so when thinking about what MySpace once was. But, if you carefully read what they are saying, it sounds like MySpace knows the jig is up. They know they’ll never compete with Facebook on a wider scale again.
Instead, MySpace much now become NicheSpace. Or maybe its MyArt/MusicSpace.
During my time at TurboTax, we did a very cool program with the part of MySpace that remains relevant today: music. In doing a branded sponsorship of the MySpace Secret Shows series, we saw return on our investment. Not only that, the folks at MySpace music were cool dudes who got the business and, because of their music background, understood social marketing. It just works.
In an interview with Mashable, here’s what half of the Two-Headed Monster, Co-President Jason Hirschhon, said about the future of MySpace. Hirschhon set forth the future value proposition for MySpace saying it will be about:
â€œmusic that you love, the photos that you love, the video that you love, and the artistic stuff that goes on every day that says that youâ€™re you. Those are the pillars of how weâ€™re going to be building our product.â€
From his statements in that interview, and others, it appears MySpace is focusing on a group of consumers it feels are not being serviced by Facebook or other sites. I don’t know that this market is big enough or not, but at least it sounds like MySpace is finally focused on a niche audience within the larger social media realm. That seems smart.
My only two reservations about this are two things that immediately pop out:
It’s going to be interesting to watch how this plays out. Will Murdoch keep the money funnel flowing? Or is this the last gasp of air for the once mighty MySpace?
I find it hard to bet against Murdoch and News Corp.