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What’s News Corp’s MySpace problem?

Rupert Murdoch’s $580million acquisition of MySpace may have seemed a steal compared to the $240m Microsoft paid for a 1.6 per cent stake in Facebook, but all is not well with Murdoch’s plans for his social network, and it is being felt in its stock price after Fox Interactive Media (where MySpace sits in the News Corp empire) reported it would miss its 2008 revenue goal of $1billion. News Corp’s stock price has slipped 9.9 per cent this year alone.

Sure, Murdoch is throwing money at MySpace to expand into India and South Korea and add a music downloads service, but the social network is struggling to attract and retain advertisers in the volumes it needs because of the risk of their brands being shown next to inappropriate user-generated content. It is precisely the freedom and flexibility MySpace user love so much, which is causing the company problems with advertisers.

Bloomberg reports that Fox Interactive’s costs will rise a massive 46 per cent this year as they bid to open new channels for MySpace – almost as much as revenue is expected to grow. The bottom line with investors is that while MySpace continues to try to grow its audience in different markets – it is still failing to fully monetise the vast audience it already has.

However, today MySpace launched a new ad platform to give advertisers more control over where their ads are being run. It is a small step – arguably long overdue – but whether it will solve the site’s short-term adveritsing issues remains to be seen, when rival networks have already stolen a lead. While Facebook wrestles privacy issues, today enabling an ad system opt-out, it is at least driving strong advertising revenue.

MySpace’s hope has to be in the medium term, beating Facebook into new markets where advertiser sensitivity to site content is far less pronounced, doesn’t it?

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Yahoo!, Microsoft, Google, News Corp – a deal done in 3 weeks?
April 10, 2008, 3:42 pm
Filed under: Google, Microsoft, News Corp, search marketing, Yahoo! | Tags: , , , ,

The bidding for Yahoo!’s future took another twist today when it emerged that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp was trying to work with Microsoft to find a way they both could get their hands on Yahoo!.

Yahoo!’s rejection of Microsoft’s $31-a-share-offer earlier this week did not please a number of Yahoo!’s investors. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster asked 20 of Yahoo’s Institutional investors their opinion and the majority said they would prefer to deal with Microsoft on that offer, than do no deal at all. The growing feeling among Silicon Valley investors is that a deal will be completed in the next 3-4 weeks.

What that deal will be and what good it will be to whom, remains to be seen. Google is remaining omimously quiet although, Yahoo! is about to turn over three per cent of its US search queries advertising inventory to Google in a two week trial – clearly a little detail that – if you were cynical – might say is being done to annoy Microsoft during its pursuit.

Difficult as it is to keep up with all the twists and turns – Jemima Kiss over at the Guardian has summarised key events here in a neat timeline.



Waiting on the world to change
December 24, 2007, 12:43 am
Filed under: ITV, News Corp, online TV | Tags: , ,

So the bloated festive season draws in and a year of plotting and future-proof strategies look to be falling into place, the world must now wait until Jan 2nd to see how things will begin to shake out in the media world, 2008 billed to be the big year for social media, Internet TV, and traditional media players sinking or swimming.

This post will address one of those issues: how and where News Corp goes from here. With Dow Jones under its belt Murdoch has the green light to change the landscape for newspaper publishers and online media again for good, and it’s just a matter of time (rumour has it end January, about the same time as the UK government will rule on what News Corp will have to do about it’s stake in broadcaster ITV) until WSJ online is freed up. That whole side of the business will play itself out, but for News Corp, it’s just the starting point and it will take most of 2008 to get all the building blocks in place. So rivals have a little time to get in on the act – and will need to before it’s too late. Next on the agenda for News Corp is rumoured to be the video gaming world domination – but is there anything in that?

In any case we have a US election to look forward to and at the moment it’s all wide open. It will be interesting to see how things have changed since Bush’s victory and will change beyond the end of next year.



Murdoch Jr’s move to push News Corp’s digital future
December 9, 2007, 4:18 pm
Filed under: News Corp | Tags: , , , ,

A lot of loose ends began to come together at News Corp on Friday as Rupert Murdoch shuffled execs ahead of the imminent announcement of the Dow Jones takeover completion and, more importantly his son announced he would stand down as CEO of BSkyB to take on the job of running News Corp’s European and Asian operations.

The implication of Murdoch Jr’s move is vital for the rest of the media industry, particularly in the digital space. It has become increasingly obvious, as James Murdoch has won over his early critics, that he is responsible for his father’s significant moves in the digital media space. In fact in the early days Rupert Murdoch was largely reticent about the web and its impact, but his son’s influence has helped move News Corp well and truly into the digital space.

 The digital media industry must beware that News Corp is pushing ahead with its aggressive digital media strategy, the next stage of which will be the announcement of the removal of the WSJ.com payment barrier, and media rivals such as the Financial Times and CNN will need to respond.

 At Google’s Zeitgeist conference earlier this year, James Murdoch hinted at his vision of the changing nature of media and the interconnectedness of the growing number of media channels. It might not be the most inspirational speech ever given, but it gives an indication of Murdoch Jr’s appreciation for the digital world and in light of Friday’s moves, indicates this is just the beginning of a major push from News Corp.



News Corp plans January LinkedIn deal
November 30, 2007, 4:06 pm
Filed under: News Corp | Tags: , , , , ,

Rupert Murdoch, News CorpTechCrunch reported last week that News Corp is in talks with LinkedIn about a possible buyout and rumors about the talks continue to be leaked, now into the VC community.

With the acquisition of Dow Jones due to complete in December, the possiblity of a News Corp/LinkedIn tie up blossoming in January will likely catch rival media outlets on the hop. The goal for News Corp has to be to integrate the LinkedIn network of 12 million users with its plans to free up newspaper websites – most likely to be spearheaded with the Wall Street Journal when the new ‘free’ access model is launched.

 News Corp is no novice in the social media area, having been shrewd enough to bag MySpace for $580m in 2005, just double what Microsoft shelled out on only 1.6 per cent of Facebook in October. What is more, News Corp needs to stem falling revenue from classifieds that marketers are increasingly channelling into social media.