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Viacom vs. News Corp. on Social Networking 65

Posted by Zonk
from the feel-the-neopet-love dept.
dolphinlover writes "The purchase of MySpace.com by Robert Murdoch's News Corporation last year for $580 million has caught the attention of another media conglomerate, Viacom Inc., whose CEO, Tom Freston, has now announced his intentions to purchase or partner with a social networking site this year in order to enhance the company's image with youth. Whether it will also be successful monetarily has yet to be seen, as MySpace.com only had $47 million in revenue in 2005 based on advertising. This news follows Viacom's acquisition of Neopets.com in 2005. For those companies already heavily involved in television and movies, expanding their presence to the Internet provides a new opportunity to gain a foothold over the competition."
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Viacom vs. News Corp. on Social Networking

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  • Make media that the "youth" like.

    News Corp is kicking ass in the 18-25 market right now with shows like American Idol. And they're also nailing those elusive male 18-40 year olds with shows like 24 and the Shield (best show on TV, imho).

    Plus, they have the Simpsons.
    • They should be looking for a <a href="http://www.vobbo.com/">social network with video</a>. The benefits of non-traditional social networks for large companies are significant:

      <ul>
      <li>Growing social network for repeat visitors and easy advertising
      <li>Incorporation of core media focus (video / audio) into that social network
      <li>Natural advertisement opportunities at beginning/end of media files rather than interrupting natural flow in text - that is, it's inherently easier
      • They should be looking for a social network with video [vobbo.com]. The benefits of non-traditional social networks for large companies are significant:
        • Growing social network for repeat visitors and easy advertising
        • Incorporation of core media focus (video / audio) into that social network
        • Natural advertisement opportunities at beginning/end of media files rather than interrupting natural flow in text - that is, it's inherently easier to advertise in/around video than in text pages where it's always an interruption.
      • lol - Can you seriously say that you're not involved with vobbo? That post had "stock forum post about our company" written all over it ;)
    • New Corp might be kicking ass in that market on TV, but there's new and up and coming sites that allow for different kinds of social networking that allow people to interact in different ways than myspace...deviantart http://www.deviantart.com/ [deviantart.com] is good for artists (lots are in this demo), askothers http://www.askothers.com/ [askothers.com] i just found out about but seems to be trying to get people to network based on their knowledge and the knowledge of their friends, sites like blackplanet http://www.blackplanet.com/ [blackplanet.com] allo
  • Where by "Robert"... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Omega697 (586982) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @12:41PM (#14835418)
    You mean "Rupert."
  • Could this be the sign of yet another bubble forming???
  • Meetup.com (Score:4, Interesting)

    by adubey (82183) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @12:46PM (#14835468)
    I'm a meetup.com organizer, I just got an (bulk) email today from the CEO suggesting they might be partering/being bought by a major media organization.

    Quite a coincidence this is being announced on the same day.
  • by xiando (770382) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @12:49PM (#14835502) Homepage Journal
    "only" $47 million in revenue in 2005? I'm fairly sure I could pay the rent and eat nice dinners every day with $47 million yearly..
    • Well that's not that much once you consider all the expenses and staffing costs. The purchase price of ~$500 is a bit much unless they can grow the advertising revenue substantially.

      http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]
      • Myspace shows ads? Hmm... guess I never noticed with noscript, adblock, and flashblock installed.

        Seriously, I have seen their ads before I installed adblock but like any other internet ad, I mentally blocked all of them out. I often wonder why internet advertising brings in so much money. How much are internet ads worth? Back when I saw ads, I can safely say I never clicked on one. I still don't understand Google's principles - I understand they mostly make money based on their ads that appear to the rig

        • If I had mod points, I would mod you up. This is one of the biggest things that irritates me with everyone's beloved Google as of late. I want to use google, but the last product I was looking for had 4 "Buy x on Ebay" ads in the sidebar, and at least the first 15-20 results were either redirectors to ebay, or those stupid squatter 'search' pages filled with links to other advertisements surrounded by snippits from other webpages. Even Froogle is littered with the ebay redirectors, so you can't even use tha
          • Ah, I think you folks want the Microsoft Claims Worlds Best Search Engine Soon discussion next door [slashdot.org]. This is, in fact the social network discussion...

            Are they gone? Stupid gits...

            :-)

          • Well, I would politely suggest that you log in with google and start blocking results you don't like. Not only do you gain the benefit of removing unwanted results, it will also help google to refine search results making for a better searching experience for everybody.

            I did your laurels search and ended up with the House Of Laurels as the first result and no ebay on the first page at all. As for, so called social networking, the current big drive is to force the idea, that if you don't have a listing on

    • but could you pay for bandwidth and server upgrade costs

      as well as staff and other overhead
    • "only" $47 million in revenue in 2005? I'm fairly sure I could pay the rent and eat nice dinners every day with $47 million yearly..

      Could you, however, pay the rent, eat nice dinners, and maintain the hardware, software, technical support, and administrative staff of a service that has 55 million users?
    • '"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005? I'm fairly sure I could pay the rent and eat nice dinners every day with $47 million yearly.."

      I REALLY hope you know the difference between revenue and profit. Remember, just because they make that much doesn't mean they necessarily give it all to the owner...they have expenses, and plenty of them.

  • They could always start selling personal information off the site to spammers, credit card companies, and advertisers of all sorts... they could even encourage people to take "polls" about what products they prefer, allowing for even more targeted ads. As long as they don't screw up, I can see MySpace.com bringing in lots of advertising revenue.
  • by kevin_conaway (585204) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @01:05PM (#14835665) Homepage
    I've noticed that Fox and Fx have been promoting MySpace heavily by creating MySpace pages for its television shows.
    • Sadly, I'm on myspace :( I saw a plug for ABC's "Grey's Anatomy - The Complete First Season" or something ridiculous. WTF???
    • Time-Warner and its Turner Broadcasting unit have been doing the same thing with their http://www.gametap.com/ [gametap.com] site - advertising on TBS, Cartoon Network and The WB to name a few. Although a totally different biz than what MySpace is in, it does cater to that same audience. I woudn't be surprised to see NBCUniversal try something like this next considering that NBC has quite a bit of teen/tween-targeted programming on Saturday mornings and that it has control of WWE's TV ops on USA Network (albeit not full
  • in order to enhance the company's image with youth.

    That's the point. If your company's image is an important part of making money in your other ventures, then the vehicle you use to do that doesn't have to make money. If it does, or even just supports itself, so much the better. It's like getting other companies to pay for your commercials.

    And this Internet thing might just amount to something.

    • Let's all just hope that the youth of tomorrow aren't so stupid as we are to buy into all this targeted marketing, buzz-phrase generating, social engineering bullshit. Honestly, how many Viacom-programmed MTV clones does this planet need? Even the goths, punks, and emos have been hyper focused into a marketable group (hot topic anyone?).
      I'm surprised a clothing or marketing company hasn't purchased a site like this, but instead they're all media companies.
      • buy into all this targeted marketing, buzz-phrase generating, social engineering bullshit.

        I call the spam sending, search engine optimizing, phony privacy statement crowd "parasuits". I used to call them "suitwankers", but that's a little edgy for some people, and doesn't get the point across as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    As an ex-News Corp employee, I can tell you that in the case of myspace, revenue is definitely the point. News Corp sees Myspace as a perfect avenue to use for cross-promotion of its TV shows and all other media. It would like to use it to sell videos, music, anything that is owned by umbrella companies and has a price tag. I don't think that sheer and utter commercialization will work though - myspace is not a webstore. It was always my opinion that kids are fickle - push their buttons too hard or try to f
    • by L7_ (645377) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:17PM (#14836290)
      the problem is, just how far do the companies have to go before they start to 'push buttons'? kids are damn fickle, they also follow the crowd... unless another online haven pops up to fill the role of myspace where everyone else goes, then noone will bother to move. In fact, it is almost like myspace is so entrenched as _the_ social networking site, that noone will ever be able to replace it entirely in the foreseeable future. unless, of course, they make it pay to play then it will die faster than something that dies really fast.

      if orkut (i dont know about this, ive never been invited) went the way of myspace and started heavily recruiting profiles made along with the tight integration of every other google service, then i could see people moving over to that. but its been out for a while now, and noone that i know uses it. nor do you ever hear people in restaraunts talking about it like you do myspace. with the current recruitment model it cant replace myspace.

      facebook.com seems to have a way better interface and integration than myspace, and it is slowly growing people profiles as they pass through college and keep thier accounts. but again, what makes it good is the niche market for students (im not even sure if HS students can profile there) and the way that they keep non-.edu emails from registering. again, it will never replace myspace for the 25+ somethings, but for college students it is used pretty much a lot more than myspace (where people seem okay with posting more personal information there).

      i cant comment on friendster or linkedin or whatever else there is out there. unless someone recommends them to me or i see the network through random surfing, then i dont really care. :\
      • If google wanted to, they could make Orkut better than MySpace, in the span of a week. MySpace would get caught "sans culottes" like hotmail did when gmail came out.

        I use Orkut, and it is slow, feature-poor, and prone to errors. I don't know who at Google is responsible for it, but I've complained a number of times about it and nothing ever gets done about anything. (I'm a sysadmin, so yes I've already tried different connections, browsers, hardware, etc. all the same) My reason for trying it is the
  • My question is bit off-topic, but important I think.

    Is there any relationship between news corp and news.com?

    Is there a site that outlines the relationships between the different major media companies (particularly the online ones)?

    I'm finding that it is important to know these things in order to interpret the online news.
  • by peter303 (12292) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @01:29PM (#14835880)
    Since social networking depends on the completeness of its network, people are going to flock to whatever appears to be the leader in the niche. Its like a new auction site competing against eBay - not much room for #2.

    Facebook gained market because of its restriction to a well-defined subcommunity. I am not sure why MySpace gained market, other than being easy to set up. Its predecessor Friendster was too sluggish and GeoCities too complicated (and crushed by ads after the Yahoo takeover).
    • If you look at it overall, eBay has a good system. Considering the amount of money they make, however, you would think that they can improve their customer service, specifically in the area of fraud prevention.

      I won't even bother with PayPal. If you're defrauded by a bad buyer, PayPal treats you like you're the criminal. Are there any reasonable alternatives? I'm in the process of starting business that needs to collect small payments (around $1) over the web, and I don't know the most cost effective way

  • ...don't let them take Facebook. Delightfully void of *HORRIBLE* HTML stylings, whiny pre-teens, those godawful "bulletins", and a smooth, clean, reliable interface.
    • In 2002 when I was in my last year at college and shortly after I graduated, most of my friends used friendster. Now I don't know anyone who regularly uses it. I believe most of my friends who used it are trying to be adults now, working real jobs and doing better things with their time rather than wasting it online.

      I decided to open facebook and create a profile and it's definitely a lot cleaner than myspace. It's much more professional looking and easier on the eyes. I haven't seen any friends have hund

      • I remember friendster...I think I might actually still have a profile there. I also remember myself and my friends leaving the service en masse after chronic outages. Think myspace is down a lot? it had nothing on friendster. If they had bothered to invest in better servers or stop spilling beer on them or whatever they might not have had their entire marketshare taken away by Myspace like they did.
  • Tribe just did a site makeover. The main change is that you have to view more pages to find anything, thus resulting in more ad displays. Users hate the new format.

    Myspace will probably get worse to become "competitive".

    Social networking should be peer to peer. There's no piracy issue; it's all about ME. No problems with the RIAA or MPAA. There's an open source project for somebody.

    • There's an open source project for somebody.

      It's not the ad-free myspace-like site that would be a jaw-dropper. It's would be a bug free myspace-like site that would be a jaw-dropper ... but then I guess it would then cease to be myspace-like.

      Sorry! Comments are down while we implement revision, quality and change control!

  • Maybe Viacom can just start by not suing everyone and trying to take away fair usage rights.
  • as long as whatever site they buy prevents users from creating the most obnoxious pages on the internet.
  • Viacom which owns networks like MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and online properties like ifilms and neopets - their prime target is already teens and youth. If they marry it social networking they will be able to tap the full potential or their online properties and TV networks.

    They can use the integrated networks for variety of reasons - other than feeding audiences to each other. Like contests, talent hunt, amateur media, selling music, etc.

    I am seeing a trend where new media won't be competing with the tra

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