In the emerging tradition of "old media" buying "new media," Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. announced today that it was acquiring Intermix Media Inc., which owns the wildly popular MySpace.com (the new "it" site for the youth demographic).
According to comScore, MySpace ranks at No. 30 in overall Web traffic.
This April, Rupert Murdoch told the American Society of Newspaper Editors that the industry€™s complacency could kill it. €œThe threat of losing print advertising dollars to online media is very real. In fact, it€™s already happening, particularly in classifieds,€ warned Murdoch. €œAs an industry, most of us have been remarkably, unaccountably complacent.€
The newspaper industry seems to have taken his words to heart. And News Corp. is now moving fast itself. News Corp. formed Fox Interactive Media on Friday and made this buy three days later. Fox Interactive Media will house the Web sites corresponding to Fox's sports, entertainment and (infamous) news programming.
MySpace has built a business model around music and music promotion, which is particularly well suited to the youth demographic and its culture. With this acquisition, there is both opportunity and danger for News Corp.
Clearly the company has acquired a jewel of a promotional vehicle. However, if it gets too greedy and isn't careful about what properties it promotes on MySpace and how it promotes them, it will alienate users. And with this fickle demographic, what is hot today could be yesterday's news tomorrow.
Friendster, once the undisputed leader in this space, is a case in point.