Murdoch: we screwed up MySpace 'in every way possible'
RUPERT Murdoch, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, has tweeted about how his company "screwed up MySpace in every way possible".
The media mogul, who joined Twitter at the start of the year, posted the message earlier today about his ill-fated $580m acquisition of the social network in 2005, a year before Facebook launched and blew it out of the water:
Twitter: Rupert Murdoch - Many questions and jokes about My Space.simple answer - we screwed up in every way possible, learned lots of valuable expensive lessons.
It is the first time Murdoch has tweeted about the social network and his experience of owning MySpacefor six difficult years, since joining the microblogging platform.
It was in the context of several technology-related tweets he has written about the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which has been going on all week.
Murdoch tweeted: “CES again. Big three,Apple,Google and Amazon, and maybe Facebook dominant now and growing. Plenty of others good, but not in same league.”
He then wrote: “CES coming to a close. Seems like more innovation than ever, some great, all disruptive. Traditional coys [companies] feeling digital tornado.”
Murdoch has spoken out before about how difficult owning MySpace was, after finally selling it off to advertising company Specific Media and Justin Timberlake last year, for approximately $35m (£22m) – just 6pc of what News Corporation paid for the business. Murdoch’s business is understood to have retained a small undisclosed stake in the social network, but is not involved in the day to day running of it.
In October 2011, during an annual shareholder meeting he admitted: “I made a huge mistake…We bought it [MySpace] for $600m. We could have sold it for $6bn a month later.”
Instead, Murdoch’s company continued to try and battle against Facebook for users and advertising dollars for six more difficult years, relaunching several times and going through three chief executives.
MySpace, which started as a site on which users could share their interest in pop and rock bands, has in the last four years been totally eclipsed by the explosive growth of competitor Facebook.
“This was a good example of how to turn $580m into a lot less virtually overnight,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner, a technology research firm, at the time of the sale to Specific Media last year. “In many ways, it was a failed merger.”
MySpace has been bedevilled in recent years by confusion over its strategy and, according to analysts, failed to innovate at the pace required. Its user numbers peaked at 73.6 million in October 2008 and has since shrunk to sub 30 million.