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Viacom vs. News Corp. on Social Networking

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the feel-the-neopet-love dept.

The Internet 65

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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FIRST TROUT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835414)

I AM A FISH!

Here's a solution (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835416)

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.

Since Viacom's failed at that ... (1)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836294)

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 to advertise in/around video than in text pages where it's always an interruption.
</ul>

Once again with correct formatting... (1)

b0r1s (170449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836323)

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.

Re:Since Viacom's failed at that ... (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836333)

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 ;)

Re:Since Viacom's failed at that ... (1)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14840492)

You're right. The GP even managed to write "kind of" PowerPoint slide with bullets and all. I'm so sick of bullet lists...

Re:Lots of competition to fragment the market (1)

techpundit (958551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14838086)

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...deviantarthttp://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] allow for social networking based on ethnicity. there's lots of splinters that could add up to a 2x4 for myspace...

Where by "Robert"... (2, Informative)

Omega697 (586982) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835418)

You mean "Rupert."

Re:Where by "Robert"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835566)

Rupert's a dorky name. He ought to change it to Robert.

Re:Where by "Robert"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835832)

Rupert is NOT a dorky name.

Ru^Hobert

Parents (1)

TheOzz (888649) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835420)

Mr. Freston should focus on enhancing his image with parents if he wants to grow his business.

Could this be... (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835422)

Could this be the sign of yet another bubble forming???

Re:Could this be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14836266)

No, Mr. Troll.

Meetup.com (3, Interesting)

adubey (82183) | more than 8 years ago | (#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.

Re:Meetup.com (1)

ScottCooperDotNet (929575) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836549)

Meetup has a lot of conservative groups that will flee en masse if the liberal Viacom gets ahold of it.

"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (2, Insightful)

xiando (770382) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835502)

"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..

Re:"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (1)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835551)

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]

Re:"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836222)

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 right of their search results. I find it hard to trust those ads especially when everything I search for shows up in the ads as "Buy X on eBay!".

That reminds me of a whole different issue with Google. I'm currently looking for several motorcycle parts (new, not used) and all the google search results for the parts I'm looking for are indirect links to ebay auctions. Even when I try to search for a list of online motorcycle parts retailers, only a handful of actual stores show up (and they're not even on one page; I have to dig through 10 pages of results just to get a few store names)

Re:"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (1)

Pyrowolf (877012) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836922)

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 that sometimes.

I know ebay has to be one of Google's biggest customers, and probably isn't likely to rock the boat - but come on. I want to use Google, I really do. But I think their position has made them sit on their laurels a bit.

(and just for Fun, a google search for 'laurels' has a "Looking for Laurels? Find exactly what you want today." ebay advert.)

Google eBay ads (1)

FirstTimeCaller (521493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14837532)

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...

:-)

Re:"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14839299)

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 them with all the marketing correct (the new politically correct) entries you are on the out.

Not to be too cruel but the web for the young and immature or the pretty and stupid. The ideal marketing targets, dont't think and spend everything that they might have in the future, debt is not an issue. Wait for the, to be expected backlash in about three years times from parents of exploited children.

What is really funning is most people are starting to really react about regaining control over their privacy and these people are giving it away.

Re:"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14837671)

Speaking from someone who works in a media giant's online division, For a big traffic site Advertsing makes about $1 per 500-600 page views. We also make dollar for dollar on new subscriptions to the print version...

(Big Traffic = 1mil + a month unique site visitors or 1mil + a day page views)

Re:"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14836227)

"grow the advertising revenue substantially"?

Awesome!

Re:"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (1)

My name isn't Tim (684860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835568)

but could you pay for bandwidth and server upgrade costs

as well as staff and other overhead

Re:"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835583)

"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?

Re:"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835585)

Revenue is simply the amount of money they took in, not profits realized. Figuring in expenses, overhead, G&A, taxes, etc., they are probably losing their shirts.

Still think you can enjoy those 5 star dinners?

Re:"only" $47 million in revenue in 2005 (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14837748)

'"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.

How MySpace.com could make more revenue (1)

paladinwannabe2 (889776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835567)

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.

Re:How MySpace.com could make more revenue (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14837163)

they could even encourage people to take "polls" about what products they prefer, allowing for even more targeted ads

Like ads for hair products [demonbaby.com] , emo music [fourfa.com] and razor blades [townhall.com] perhaps.

Mind you if there's money in Emo, that would explain the style choices [flickr.com] in digg's flickr photos.

People don't want their kids using this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835574)

The Connecticut Attorney General is investigating MySpace after reports of six or seven sex assaults were linked to the site.

I wouldn't want my kids using this shit.

Shouldn't feed the trolls, but... (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835792)

Maybe you have stupid kids.

Given this, I wouldn't let them dress themselves for fear they might cause pain or injury.

Fox promoting MySpace (2, Informative)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835665)

I've noticed that Fox and Fx have been promoting MySpace heavily by creating MySpace pages for its television shows.

Other networks doing so as well?!?! (1)

MikeSty (890569) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835901)

Sadly, I'm on myspace :( I saw a plug for ABC's "Grey's Anatomy - The Complete First Season" or something ridiculous. WTF???

Re:Fox promoting MySpace (1)

jseale (691367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14840433)

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 control just yet)

Revenue is not the point (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835668)

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.

Re:Revenue is not the point (1)

xombo (628858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835730)

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.

Re:Revenue is not the point (1)

RealProgrammer (723725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835785)

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.

Revenue *is* the point (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835778)

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 force something on them and they will just find another online haven. News Corp have been treading lightly because they finally clicked on to this, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the end game is total commercialization of myspace.

Re:Revenue *is* the point (3, Interesting)

L7_ (645377) | more than 8 years ago | (#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. :\

Orkut... (1)

aws910 (671068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14840793)

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 MySpace/YouTube debacle, but if none of my friends like Orkut, what am I to do...

And by the way, if the $47M is gross revenue, it is likely that the MySpace is losing money overall. That would be nice. They are such ad-whores.

Re:Revenue *is* the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14837083)

Here, Here!

I think you're right on with this. Let's not forget that Rupert bought TV Guide back in the day just to advertise Fox shows on the cover (when it was still a fledgling network)

I think he eventually sold it when it was no longer necessary. The point no doubt will be like you say, cross promotion. Myspace doesn't need to be very profitable in and of itself. It only a vessel to give an exposure effect to that demographic.

#irc.trooltalk.com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835807)

or make lOud noises C\OME ON BABY...AND

durka durka durka (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835863)

who the hell is robert murdock ??

Who owns who? (1)

Qwavel (733416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835869)

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.

Re:Who owns who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14835996)

http://www.theyrule.net/ [theyrule.net]

A little outdated, but a good reference, nonetheless.

Re:Who owns who? (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836276)

No, news.com is part of CNET. http://www.cnetnetworks.com/ [cnetnetworks.com] . They're their own little company. NASDAQ: CNET [fool.com]

Re:Who owns who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14837207)

No, News Corporation's news website is news.com.au [news.com.au] .

Re:Who owns who? (1)

Jude T. Obscure (721864) | more than 8 years ago | (#14838202)

Who Owns What [cjr.org] might do you as a starting point, but if you find one that has more online media included, I'd like to hear about it too

can only be one leader at a time (3, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | more than 8 years ago | (#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).

Re:can only be one leader at a time (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836488)

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 of collecting such small payments.

Please... (1)

badfish274 (924161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14835945)

...don't let them take Facebook. Delightfully void of *HORRIBLE* HTML stylings, whiny pre-teens, those godawful "bulletins", and a smooth, clean, reliable interface.

Re:Please... (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836436)

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 hundreds of friends on their list who are all aspiring models posting half-nude pictures of themselves - like many people do on myspace.

One funny thing is that I cleaned up my sister-in-law's computer by removing a ton of pop-up inducing spyware and installing firefox as the default browser. Her sister used the computer the next day and complained "Hey, I thought you fixed the computer? My myspace profile is all messed up now!"

Re:Please... (1)

Manmademan (952354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14838695)

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.

Now, with more ads (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836181)

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.

Re:Now, with more ads (1)

glib909 (623480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836561)

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!

Enhancing Viacom's image with youth (1)

snorkybluefog (958486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14836456)

Maybe Viacom can just start by not suing everyone and trying to take away fair usage rights.

I thank yoxu for your time (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14836946)

ME! It's official that he documents prima donnas, and for the state of took precedence about half of the

I fully support this... (1)

le0p (932717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14837046)

as long as whatever site they buy prevents users from creating the most obnoxious pages on the internet.

News Corp. is Fox, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14837413)

I'm surprised they haven't renamed MySpace to "henhouse.com."

Enter Tagworld (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14838241)

I recently discovered Tagworld.com through Business 2.0's 25 websites to look out for. It has its sights on not only MySpace, but Yahoo 360/MSN Spaces as well. It has only been released for 4 months, but has close to 1,000,000 registered users. It's a combination of myspace + flickr + youtube + blogger + delicious, though with its design/layout, it seems to be aiming for MySpace tweens. It's currently offering 1 GB of space to upload/share videos/music. It's heavily Ajax-ed (and promotes that like crazy) and allows people to tag everything and search for tags along those lines. That's probably the only interesting aspect about it through, that a single tag search will yield several multi-media results. The founders Mr. Rifkin and Fred Krueger claim this isn't a build to flip company, but given their track record and if Viacom notices them, I expect them to give in quickly. It received its first round [redherring.com] of private funding on Feb. 7th (3 months after launch) and employs 30 engineers.

Rupert Murdoch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14838709)

Murdoch did NOT buy this company to turn a profit. He made a half billion dollar purchase of marketing data. The purchase of myspace was the purchase of millions of filled out questionaires regarding the most fickel target audience ever. He bought the rights to know where these kids are, there likes dislikes, Hell he might even own the rights to your blog. Myspace could never turn a profit and still be a worthwile investment for Satan....I mean Rupert.

Viacom & Social Networking (1)

sanspeak (734959) | more than 8 years ago | (#14865192)

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 traditional media, infact traditional media owners will converge to new media and would become the owner there also. No matter, citizens are turning into producers, but the power still lies in the hands of the DISTRIBUTORS

Santosh @ Newsmotto [newsmotto.com]

Have you seen Compare Hangouts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14895987)

There's this cool new site that I found. http://www.comparehangouts.com/ [comparehangouts.com] It compares My Space and Friendster etc.

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