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BREAKING: News Corp’s Chief Digital Officer Jon Miller To Leave Post

By | Thursday August 23, 2012 @ 12:25pm PDT

The news is not surprising since he’d been unhappy at the company for some time and had been a leading candidate for the Yahoo CEO job. “While my time spent has been productive, it feels like the right time to exit,” Jon Miller said in a statement. “I look forward to pursuing new ventures that will lead me back into an operational role.” The company announced today that Miller will leave his post at the end of September as News Corp is about to split into two companies: one entertainment, one publishing. Miller will bean outside advisor to News Corp on digital issues through fall 2013.

Though widely liked and respected, Miller has been News Corp’s Chief Digital Officer since 2009 and unfortunately witnessed Rupert Murdoch pursue mostly unsuccessful new digital initiatives. Miller was News  Corp’s key man for repeated efforts to sell Hulu and the point person in wrangling the bids, but those are now on hold. He also presided over The Daily which has proved to be Rupert’s folly and a very public failure and embarrassment that recently slashed staff by a third. Miller also saw the steep decline of MySpace which was the hottest social networking service online when News Corp purchased it in 2005 for $580M. Then it was overtaken by Facebook in 2008 so staff layoffs and multiple redesigns ensued. Finally News Corp unloaded MySpace in 2011 for just $35M.

RelatedNews Corp Fiscal Q4 Earnings Hit By Film Woes And ‘American Idol’ Slide

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MySpace Debacle Vindication For Fired Viacom CEO Tom Freston

Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone stunned the entertainment industry in 2006 when he fired CEO Tom Freston. One of the chief reasons for the move was that Freston hadn’t moved decisively enough to buy MySpace, enabling Rupert Murdoch to pick up what was then the most popular social networking site for $580 million. Redstone seemed to think that contributed to the 20% drop in Viacom’s stock price in 2006 up to the date of Freston’s ouster. The CEO’s successor, Philippe Dauman, would “never, ever let another competitor beat us to the trophy,” Redstone told analysts. Redstone told interviewer Charlie Rose that losing MySpace had been “humiliating,” adding, “MySpace was sitting there for the taking for $500 million.”

But who’s laughing now? MySpace has collapsed into a distant also-ran behind Facebook and Twitter. And Murdoch took a bath on MySpace this week. He wanted $100 million for it but sold 95% of his interest to ad company Specific Media for a mere $35 million. Just imagine what would have happened to Viacom’s stock if Redstone’s passion for chasing fads led him to outbid Murdoch. It’s hard to believe that the owner of MTV would have seen what Murdoch didn’t — that social network fans were being turned off by MySpace’s tawdry commercialism as it established itself as a music and entertainment portal. That provided the opening for Facebook and Twitter to position themselves as safer alternatives for people who simply want to connect with friends.

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UPDATE: Justin Timberlake Will Take Stake In MySpace After News Corp Sells Site For $30M-$40M To Specific Media

By | Wednesday June 29, 2011 @ 3:16pm PDT

UPDATE: 3:16 PM: The official release from new MySpace owner Specific Media had an interesting bit of news in it: Justin Timberlake will take an ownership stake in the social-media site “and play a major role in developing the creative direction and strategy for the company moving forward.” It’s unknown how much he is investing in the deal, in which seller News Corp receives a minority equity stake in Specific, but it makes sense in that MySpace had become a de facto music promotions site since being essentially left in the dust by Facebook. Specific Media and Timberlake say they plan to evolve Myspace into the premiere digital destination for original shows, video content and music. ”There’s a need for a place where fans can go to interact with their favorite entertainers, listen to music, watch videos, share and discover cool stuff and just connect. MySpace has the potential to be that place,” Timberlake says in the release. “Art is inspired by people and vice versa, so there’s a natural social component to entertainment. I’m excited to help revitalize Myspace by using its social media platform to bring artists and fans together in one community.”

PREVIOUS, 11:47 AM: It was such huge news back in 2005 when News Corp plunked down $580 million for the web’s hottest social-networking site MySpace. It makes today’s news maybe even bigger: News Corp has agreed to sell the site to ad-targeting firm Specific Media for $30 million-$40 million, the Wall Street Journal is reporting, well below its $100 million asking price. Read More »

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REPORT: News Corp. In Talks To Hand Over Control Of MySpace To Vevo

By | Monday March 28, 2011 @ 10:22pm PDT

News Corp. is in preliminary talks to give control of Myspace to, the site partly owned by top record companies, including Universal Music and Sony Music, according to a Bloomberg report. News Corp. has been looking to unload the social media site, which continues to lose ground, despite the recent redesign and ramped up entertainment content. A year ago, Owen Van Natta stepped down as MySpace’s CEO, replaced by Mike Jones and Jason Hirschhorn.

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Disney Buys Big Social Game Developer

Burbank, California – July 27, 2010—The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Playdom Inc., one of the leading companies in the fast-growing business of online social gaming. Playdom shareholders will receive total consideration of $563.2 million, subject to certain conditions, and a performance-linked earn-out of up to $200 million.

In just two and a half years of operation, Playdom has established itself as a pacesetter in building popular games for social networks enjoyed by consumers around the globe. Through well-known titles like Social City, Sorority Life, Market Street and Bola, Playdom engages an estimated 42 million active players each month.

By acquiring Playdom, Disney will strengthen its already-robust digital gaming portfolio, acquire a first-rate management team and provide consumers new ways to interact with the company on popular social networks like Facebook and MySpace.

“We see strong growth potential in bringing together Playdom’s talented team and capabilities with our great creative properties, people and world-renowned brands like Disney, ABC, ESPN and Marvel.” said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.

“This acquisition furthers our strategy of allocating capital to high-growth businesses that can benefit from our many characters, stories and brands, delivering them in a creatively compelling way to a new generation of fans on the platforms they prefer,” Iger added.

“We are at the start of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way people of all ages play games with their friends across devices, platforms and

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