One day after News Corp. announced less than stellar performance in its MySpace unit, the company is throwing the social networking site's doors open to the rest of the Internet by inviting users to share their data stored on the social network with other sites such as eBay, Yahoo, and Twitter.
News Corp. announced on Wednesday that Fox Interactive Media, which includes MySpace, would fall 10 percent short of revenue projections for the fiscal year. The disappointing news came despite an overall tripling of News Corp. profits over the same quarter last year, to a net income of $2.7 billion, or 91 cents a share.
Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin, on yesterday's call with investors, defended MySpace by saying social networks were one of the the fastest growing categories on the Web and that News Corp.'s revenue from interactive businesses had already exceeded $1 billion. "We're incredibly optimistic about the future of social media and our role in shaping it," he said.
The site's new data portability service will launch within "the next several weeks." Users who opt in can effectively make their MySpace profile their home base online, with any changes made to that page reflected throughout their other profiles online. For example, a photo album uploaded to MySpace would appear immediately on Twitter, or a change to one's profile picture would be reflected on Photobucket or Yahoo.
"Today, MySpace is no longer an isolated island on the Web," said Chris DeWolfe, CEO and Founder of MySpace, on a conference call today. "This is the largest and most comprehensive way that a Web site has enabled its community to dynamically share its data with other Web sites."
The service is immediately available globally. The service will be housed in a centralized location on the site, from which users can control the availability of their data.
When asked what MySpace would gain from it, DeWolfe answered, "We're able to promote a more open and social Internet. [This is] one of our core principals we originally tolled out since the very beginning of MySpace, since the early days when we allowed widgets on our Web site. This just takes that to the next level."
A report from Bernstein Research in April downgraded News Corp.'s stock standing based largely on the performance of MySpace, saying the reliance on advertising in risky sectors was hurting the long-term outlook.
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Douglas Quenqua is a journalist based in Brooklyn, NY who writes about culture and technology. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New York Observer, and Fortune.
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