Website loses two-thirds of foreign workforce

LONDON — MySpace, the social networking site owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., announced Tuesday it was axing 300 jobs outside of the U.S. in an effort to reduce costs.

The cuts amount to two thirds of MySpace’s international workforce. The announcement comes a week after the site, which was acquired by Murdoch for $580 million in July 2005, revealed it would be shedding 400 jobs in the U.S., equivalent to 30% of its workforce there.

“As we conducted our review of the company, it was clear that internationally, just as in the U.S., MySpace’s staffing had become too big and cumbersome to be sustainable in current market conditions,” commented MySpace chief exec Owen Van Natta in a statement.

Van Natta, previously Facebook’s chief operating officer, was tapped by News Corp. in April to help revive the fortunes of the site, which has wobbled in the face of competition from the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Rival social networking site Facebook, for example, boasts more than double the worldwide user base that MySpace has. About half of MySpace’s user base comes from outside the U.S.

The international restructuring plan will see London, Berlin and Sydney become MySpace’s primary regional hubs, with all other existing offices in Argentina, Brazil, India, France, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, Canada, Italy and Spain coming under review.

MySpace China, which is locally owned and operated, and MySpace’s joint venture in Japan will not be affected by the cutbacks.

The decision to ax staff highlights the difficulties that media, old and new, are facing during the global economic recession with traditional advertising badly hit and online revenue models yet to mature.

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