Wednesday MySpace finally bowed down to Facebook by officially re-branded itself and launching a new beta website focused on serving the "Gen Y" user as a social entertainment destination. Rather than provide a website for users to generate pages solely focused on themselves, MySpace now allows members to discover content and connect with other fans with similar interests based on music, celebrities, movies, television, and games.
"This marks the beginning of an exciting turning point for Myspace," said Mike Jones, CEO of Myspace. "Myspace is unique in that it is powered by the passions of our users, who program the site by expressing interests, sharing tastes and knowledge around particular topics, and scouting out up-and-coming subcultures. This is the just the first step, and there will be many more features, programs and improvements to come."
Existing users should see the new beta site by the end of November--new users will have access to the new site immediately. According to MySpace, the new design will incorporate content "hubs" dedicated to movies, television, and celebrities, however additional hubs focused on games, comedy, sports and fashion are planned to launch in the coming months. These hubs will provide specifically related content including news, editorials, videos, and photos.
In addition to the Hubs, the new MySpace will also offer additional features including topics piped in from MTV, LA Times, Access Hollywood and many others. Additionally, users can set up a personalized stream of content, check out relevant recommendations, earn badges, see current trends, view profiles and more.
Can MySpace make a comeback? As BusinessWeek pointed out, the total makeover and re-focus seems to be a last-ditch effort to keep News Corp from kicking MySpace out the door. The site reportedly loses just under $100 million a year while the number of visitors have dropped 20-percent over the last two years. According to Evercore Partners analyst Alan Gould, MySpace is only worth just over half the $580 million News Corp originally shelled out in 2005.
With Facebook gaining users and MySpace heading in the opposite direction, News Corp seemingly needed to do something to bail out the sinking social ship. Perhaps the new MySpace will redefine the term "social networking."