Redesign will upgrade functions, increase ads

News Corp. is stepping up its efforts to wring more ad coin out of MySpace.

The social-networking behemoth is unveiling a massive redesign of its website and tech functions next week, including upgrades to its navigation, user-profile editing and search applications as well as an overhauled MySpaceTV vid player.

Redesign, the first top-to-bottom overhaul since the site’s launch in January 2004, is aimed at keeping MySpace hip on the tech side at a time when it’s facing stiffer competition from Facebook, Bebo and others in the social-networking sector. The changes also increase exponentially the advertising opportunities throughout the site and on the MySpaceTV player.

The new-model MySpace will bow Wednesday, starting with changes to the homepage that will show off the increased amount of advertising that the portal to the rest of MySpace will now support. MySpace said a single advertiser will “take over” the home page on Wednesday, with the rest of the redesign and new elements bowing Thursday.

The extreme makeover, which has been in the works for more than six months, has been guided by focus groups, user surveys and a host of other research on what consumers and advertisers want from MySpace. The overarching goal is to make MySpace’s tools for navigation, search and profile editing much more intuitive and user-friendly for nontechies.

Changes to the MySpaceTV player include features that will make it easier for MySpace members to embed and share vids. Its expanded functions allow MySpace members to recommend vids to like-minded members and to highlight the most-viewed vids throughout MySpace.

MySpace ranks among the five most trafficked U.S. websites. Its monthly average has hovered at about 73 million unique visitors so far this year, according to comScore.

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