Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Murdoch and MySpace--Imperfect Together

The Guardian's Business section reported today on Rupert Murdoch's evil-media-mogul plans for MySpace.com...

News Corporation will start offering video downloads on its recently acquired myspace.com as it focuses on creating "more content and better content," said the chief executive, Rupert Murdoch.
Speaking at a technology and media conference in Arizona, Mr Murdoch described the potential for News Corp's online businesses as "enormous", predicting revenues of $350-$400m by 2007.

"There will be millions of downloads a day probably," he told an audience at Citicorp's annual Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications Conference in Phoenix without offering further details.


this piece by Nicholas Wapshott appeared in The Independent yesterday, explaining how much Murdoch and company don't know about MySpace.com:
Angry members of MySpace, the personal file-sharing website for young adults, are accusing Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation of censoring their postings and blocking their access to rival sites.

The 38 million subscribers to MySpace, which News Corp bought for $629m (£355m) last July, discovered that when they wrote to each other about rival video-swapping site YouTube, the words were automatically deleted, and attempts to download video images from YouTube led to blank screens

I'm sorry, but Murdoch's out to ruin a very good thing. If we couldn't already figure it out, Murdoch's all about "content" and predominantly about old business models and controlling the world of media. He has absolutely no concept of MySpace.com, its users, how its usesrs use it, and what it does. Murdoch's all about running things...and with MySpace, it will more than likely be about ruining things. Overmanagement of a site where the content is primarily user-generated will eventually discourage user-participation: and that could especially happen with something like MySpace which, up until the takeover and some bad press, thrived on a free-wheeling "do whatcha want" ethos.

Further, Murdoch doesn't seem to get the ethos of Web 2.0 either, which isn't about content as much as it is about conversation and peer-to-peer communication. What Murdoch seems to be proposing is a place where there will be much consuming (read:downloading) and not much participation. I'm sure the dowloading will have more to do with Murdoch Product than with anything produced by the members of MySpace....thus turning MySpace into nothing more than another content-driven media site.

As if we don't have enough of those already.

Murdoch's also throwing a young gun with lots o'cash at the web:
Mr Murdoch, 74, last week appointed 33-year-old Jeremy Philips to run News Corp's internet strategy and armed him with a $1bn fund to buy more sites. (from the Independent)

It's all about strategy...all about top-down communicating...all about consuming...

Which is not what MySpace was supposed to be about.

But this Web thing is pretty vast, and there are oodles and oodles of smart-alecks out there who could conceivably stay one step ahead of Murdoch's Minions (or is that millions?)

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out.

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