MySpace will on Wednesday launch a fully revamped version of its Web site in a move aimed at repositioning the company ahead of a decision on its future by its owner News Corp. (NWSA)
News Corp. has been considering its options for MySpace, including a sale, according to people familiar with the plans. But it has been holding off on making a decision until Wednesday's relaunch as a social entertainment hub, which executives hope will breathe new life into the site.
The revamped MySpace will be a "drastic change" and a significant departure from the site's past, Mike Jones, chief executive, told the Financial Times.
"It's a completely new Web site," he said. "We felt that over time MySpace had become very broad in what it was offering. We believe that companies with a very singular focus have very happy users."MySpace's tagline used to be "a place for friends" but that has been ditched, as has the company's old logo. The new site will instead encourage users to share and recommend music, film and television content, rewarding the most prolific trendsetters with "virtual tastemaker badges." A celebrity category has also been added to allow MySpace to share links and information about the stars of tabloid magazines. "We want people to be able to discover and share entertainment that they love," said Jones. "The more you can connect with trendsetters, the more you can discover new things." The relaunch comes at the end of a turbulent period for MySpace: Jones is the third chief executive in 18 months, with his co-president, Jason Hirschhorn, recently leaving the company unexpectedly. Owen Van Natta, who was brought in to replace founding CEO Chris DeWolfe, left the site in February after nine months in charge. "Things are stabilizing," said Jones. "I'm committed to the vision and News Corp. is committed to me." News Corp., he added, was "excited about the relaunched site and overall has been extremely supportive of what we're doing". The company has been on a cost-cutting drive and recently brought staff from its music site, which had been operating almost as an independent company, into its Beverly Hills headquarters. MySpace continues to attract 130 million regular users per month, although growth has stalled. MySpace used to be cluttered with advertisements but there are now fewer ad slots on the site.
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