During News Corp.’s most recent earning call with investors, chief Rupert Murdoch said the company was prepping a "major overhaul" of MySpace, its troubled social network, in the hopes of turning fortunes around in a space now dominated by Facebook and Twitter.
Well, the redesign is here – and, not surprisingly, takes its cues from Facebook and Twitter. There’s a “story stream” and suggestions of “people you may know.” (The ugly, disjointed profile pages remain, however.)
“Based on your feedback, we've made some improvements,” a note on the redesigned homepage reads, promising “streamlined updates” and faster page loads. “We hope you enjoy these new features and that you will continue to help us provide innovations that make your experience the best it can be.”
But can cosmetic changes can save a sinking ship? Since Murdoch bought MySpace for $580 million in 2006, Facebook has rocketed past it in terms of cachet — and users. Facebook now boasts 500 million members – MySpace, 120 million.
"MySpace and Facebook really aren't even competing in the same category any more," EMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson told the AP. "Which is good. For MySpace to be successful they need to carve out their own place." (That space has historically been bands, and MySpace is still useful for musicians looking to stream songs and post tour dates for fans. But even that usefulness, at least anecdotally, has waned.)
News Corp.’s digital media group — essentially MySpace — posted an undisclosed operating loss (part of a $174 million segment dip) during the last quarter, driven down by flailing search and advertising revenues.
And while Murdoch touted MySpace’s newly installed executive team, he didn’t exactly instill long-term confidence in investors.
"We're going to see it out for some time yet," he said.
Just how long remains to be seen.