MySpace shakeup: News Corp.'s morning-after plan

Founder, CEO DeWolfe is out. What will Murdoch's digital chief Jon Miller do now?

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
Jessi Hempel, writer

Chris DeWolfe
Chris DeWolfe, MySpace founder and CEO, is leaving the social networking giant in a News Corp. shakeup.

NEW YORK -- Less than a month after former AOL chief Jonathan Miller joined News Corp to oversee the digital media business, he's cleaning house at MySpace.

On April 22, Miller and MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe announced DeWolfe will soon step down from the top job. He will remain on the board of MySpace China for now, and continue on as a strategic advisor.

MySpace cofounder Tom Anderson, long every user's first "friend" on the site, remains president, but is also in talks with Miller about a new role at the company.

Though Miller had been considering a management shakeup at the social networking site that Murdoch bought for $580 million in 2005, he had not planned to announce the change for some time.

(The company had to act fast after a TechCrunch posting forced a flurry of speculation over DeWolfe's departure.)

Miller is now in a hurry to fill the position and has narrowed down his list of candidates. The assumption is that the job will go to former Facebook operating chief Owen Van Natta, but an official announcement has not been made.

One thing's for sure: the company's next CEO will have a great challenge. The site is off to a rough year. The number of U.S. visitors has dropped off to just 70 million in March after hovering around 75 million for the last seven months. Top talent like former chief operating officer Amit Kapur is leaving the company. And like other media companies, MySpace is feeling the effects of the slowing economy.

This all comes after a disappointing 2008, in which analysts estimate MySpace posted revenue of about $600 million -- far short of the $1 billion target set by its parent company.

MySpace seems to be falling behind Facebook in the all-important race to sign up new users. Facebook now has more than 61 million U.S. visitors, up 70% from a year ago, according to ComScore. And internationally, the site has leapt ahead with 296 million visitors to MySpace's 126 million in March, according to Comscore measurements.

But Miller and News Corp. (NWS, Fortune 500) know the battle to be the top social networking site is not won. MySpace has a great deal going for it. Its loyal fan base spends a whopping 266 minutes a month on the site, according to Comscore, more time than on any other social network.

And MySpace is the only social network so far to come up with a business model that squeezes substantial revenue out of the site. It now falls to Miller to figure out how to jumpstart growth and make MySpace popular again. To top of page

Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 29.40 -0.08 -0.27%
Pfizer Inc 42.77 -0.29 -0.67%
Wells Fargo & Co 46.03 0.21 0.46%
Regions Financial Co... 15.13 0.34 2.30%
Comcast Corp 44.06 -0.50 -1.12%
Data as of Jul 19
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 27,154.20 -68.77 -0.25%
Nasdaq 8,146.49 -60.75 -0.74%
S&P 500 2,976.61 -18.50 -0.62%
Treasuries 2.05 0.01 0.49%
Data as of 5:51am ET
More Galleries
10 of the most luxurious airline amenity kits When it comes to in-flight pampering, the amenity kits offered by these 10 airlines are the ultimate in luxury More
7 startups that want to improve your mental health From a text therapy platform to apps that push you reminders to breathe, these self-care startups offer help on a daily basis or in times of need. More
5 radical technologies that will change how you get to work From Uber's flying cars to the Hyperloop, these are some of the neatest transportation concepts in the works today. More
Sponsors
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.