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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Vice Bolsters Biz With Blowhard Boasts, And Actual Movers And Shakers Tom Freston And Ari Emanuel

By | Tuesday April 5, 2011 @ 6:28am PDT
Mike Fleming

NEW YORK, NY (April 5, 2011) – Vice today announced it has formed major investment partnerships with some of the most influential leaders in the media business: Tom Freston, MTV Founder and former Viacom CEO; WPP, the world’s leading communications services group; and The Raine Group, a top media

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Cloris Leachman, Diahann Carroll, Peter Jennings And Tom Freston Inducted Into TV Academy’s Hall of Fame

Nellie Andreeva

North Hollywood, CA – The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame Committee has selected two iconic actresses, a ground-breaking comedy writer, an innovative cable executive, a trail-blazing TV game show producer, a universally respected journalist and television’s most beloved composer as the newest inductees into the Hall of Fame, announced Television Academy Chairman-CEO John Shaffner.

Actresses Diahann Carroll and Cloris Leachman, cable executive Tom Freston, composer Earle Hagen, writer and producer Susan Harris, broadcast journalist Peter Jennings, and game show producer Bill Todman will be honored in the 20th Annual Hall of Fame Induction ceremony held at the Beverly Hills Hotel on January 20th. The event will be produced by Lee Miller. Earle Hagen, Peter Jennings, and Bill Todman will be inducted posthumously.

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