After Van Natta Hire, MySpace Nabs More Top Digital Talent

Less than a week after hiring Facebook vet Owen Van Natta to lead MySpace as CEO, News Corp. named two more digital heavyweights to help craft a new growth strategy for the foundering social network.

Jason Hirschhorn, the former chief digital officer at MTV Networks, was appointed chief product officer at MySpace; and Michael Jones, previously with AOL as an SVP focused on social media, will serve as chief operating officer.

Both men will be based in L.A. and will report to Van Natta, who was brought on by News Corp. digital chief Jonathan Miller to replace the site’s previous CEO, MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe. Miller himself is a new arrival. It’s been just four weeks since the former AOL chief exec was named CEO of News Corp’s digital media group.

Hirschhorn and Jones both come with hefty digital credentials. As a founder of Userplane, which AOL bought in 2006, Michael Jones was among the early developers of applications for use with social platforms.

Hirschhorn oversaw MTVN’s digital products and overall strategy, after which he served with Sling Media’s entertainment group, creating consumer applications for the TV streaming device. Much of Hirschhorn’s recent career has focused on developing video-centric experiences for PC users — offering a possible clue about where News Corp. wants to take MySpace under Miller’s leadership.

“From a product perspective, there’s no better choice than Jason, who is highly regarded as an incredibly talented innovator, media executive and leader,” said Miller.

MySpace is the largest social network in the United States with 70.3 million unique visitors, according to comScore. According to News Corp., the site has 130 million visitors worldwide.

But it’s not growing as fast as Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. Unique U.S. visitors to MySpace grew by 3 percent in February 2009 compared to the same month a year ago, according to comScore. In contrast, Facebook’s audience grew 77 percent in the comparable period.

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