How is MySpace relevant to your business?



MySpace is the best known social networking site and is certainly the most popular. With 95 million members, and 500k joining each week, it is the seventh most visited site in the UK. Its these impressive statistics (its traffic has increased 367% already in 2006!) that led to Rupert Murdoch buying the site for £308 mill last year. But why would the owner of a traditional pen and ink printing organisation want to invest in a virtual site like MySpace and how does this relate to your own business?

MySpace is synonymous with the buzz term ’social networking’ and is an online ‘space’ for users to post their own blogs, pictures, videos and music. It is a platform for building relationships based on interest rather than geography.  People can find other users with similar interests and interact or even arrange to meet up just through searching the site’s database.

Use of the Internet for interaction is booming: 70 % of UK 16-24 year olds are believed to be members of sites like MySpace and around 35% contribute to blogs.  Social networking online is a rapidly growing modern day phenomenon.

As mentioned in a previous post, Murdoch’s reasons for buying an online presence can be assessed from his speeches on the changing media marketplace. With Internet advertising set to overtake newspaper ads, Murdoch realised that his business needed to adapt its revenue model. If he wanted News Corp to survive then he would have to move with the times.

MySpace and sites such as Bebo, YouTube and Flickr are now eating into TV audiences and occupy many teenagers’ evenings. MySpace reaches more kids each day than MTV does in a week. With average membership aged between 15-35, MySpace is a marketer’s dream for reaching an ever growing audience of pop culture hungry consumers.

Since buying MySpace, Murdoch’s online adventure has been under the microscope to see how he could leverage ad revenue on his new platform. Many potential advertisers had been put off by the lack of control over the content, and the thought of their ads featured next to somebody’s ‘home movies’.

But it now appears Murdoch has found the answer with the deal with Google to splash Adsense all over the site’s 95+ mill pages. Google have bought themselves into the social networking world to the tune of $900 million. They obviously share Murdoch’s confidence in MySpace as a money making machine.

The second new feather in Google’s cap was their deal with MTV to distribute ad supported video clips. Revenue would be shared with the site owners in the evolution of Adsense into the realm of video. No doubt Google have been watching the explosion of video content sharing sites, such as Youtube, and wanted a place at the table before the market was carved up amongst the early providers.

It certainly looks as though Murdoch has found a new revenue stream for many years to come. He realised that he would have to evolve his business portfolio to match the trends in how people consume content and spend their time.

People are increasingly integrating the Internet into their lives. It is fast becoming the primary platform for entertainment, communication and information. The relevancy to your business is that your web presence is becoming more important as more people use the Internet for product and service information.

Niche businesses can now reach global audiences and the smallest enterprise can now compete with large scale multi nationals. It would be prudent to take a leaf out of Murdoch’s book and assess whether your business is prepared for the changes taking place and that you are positioned to capitalise on the Internet’s continuing growth. 

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