MySpace relaunches again in bid to reverse decline

News Corporation is making a last-ditch attempt to turn around the ailing fortunes of social media site MySpace with another revamp of the site.

MySpace: relaunches website
MySpace: relaunches website

The overhaul, which includes removing the word "space" from its logo and replacing it with a blank underscore, also sees the site drop the slogan "A place for friends", in what will be seen by many as a tacit nod acknowledging the dominance of rival Facebook as the site for friends to "congregate".

The site overhaul comes at a critical time for MySpace – in August, News Corp revealed Digital Media Group, the division that houses it, had seen losses for the quarter increase from $136m in 2009 to $174m. It is widely thought that a decision about MySpace's future – including a possible sale – hinges on the success of today's relaunch.

MySpace was founded in 2003 and its popularity peaked in 2007, two years after News Corp bought it, with over 100 million users. But its dominance was short-lived and its membership growth stagnated as it was overtaken by rivals like Facebook.

The new site will shift its focus away from social networking and play to its relative strengths, encouraging users to share and recommend music, film and TV programmes, rewarding the most active users with "virtual tastemaker badges".

Mike Jones, MySpace’s chief executive (and its second within a year), has written about the new-look site on a blog. It opened with the line: "Today we begin the global rollout of the new MySpace, and we couldn’t be more excited.

"Everything from MySpace – from the layout and design, to the colour scheme, and even our logo – has been remade to deliver the best social entertainment experiences."

New functionality will be added to the site, including a mobile phone-enabled version, while new Apple and Android compatible apps will launch later this year.

Jones said: "The new MySpace is cleaner, with a new design that puts content centre stage. It’s also smarter, providing you with a personalised experience by recommending content based on your interests."

New tools have been added, including one called "Right Now on MySpace", which shows users what is trending on the site, while information, including a video, explaining the new-look site can be found on a dedicated page.

Today's announcement marks the second MySpace relaunch in just over two years. In October 2008 News Corp announced a European redesign of the social networking site.

But the redesign has not resulted in success. In August this year News Corp blamed the increased losses at Digital Media Group on lower search and ad revenue at MySpace.

Later that month the firm announced that it was merging MySpace with its digital ad platform Fox Audience Network in a move it claimed would see more relevant ads delivered to MySpace members.

MySpace was acquired by News Corp in 2005 in a $580m deal. Its popularity peaked in 2007, but has since waned as users turned to other social networks. In July, according to a report on TechCrunch, monthly visits to MySpace UK were down from a peak of 10 million at the start of the year to around five million at the end of June.

This year has also seen the departure of a number of senior MySpace staff, including chief executive Owen van Natta, co-president Jason Hirschhorn, and international marketing director Lindsay Nuttall.

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