News Corp.'s Jon Miller: MySpace stopped innovating

By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service |  Internet

MySpace stopped innovating at a time when it led the social networking market and had strong momentum, leaving the door open for competitors such as Facebook and Twitter, said Jonathan Miller, who oversees News Corp.'s Internet businesses, including the embattled MySpace.

"The thing you see in this space more than anything else is that if you don't keep innovating and moving forward, you get in trouble. You can't stop," Miller said Thursday at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. "And MySpace stopped."

Miller was hired by News Corp. in April to be chairman and CEO of its Digital Media Group, as well the company's chief digital officer, at a time when Facebook had already stolen MySpace's thunder, speeding past it to become the world's largest social networking site.

"Everybody in the company is upset that we didn't keep going when we had the real momentum. Regaining momentum is always much harder than keeping momentum going," Miller told conference chair John Battelle, who interviewed him on stage.

Since his appointment, Miller has shaken things up, bringing in former Facebook executive Owen Van Natta to replace MySpace's CEO Chris DeWolfe and overseeing deep staff reductions at MySpace in the U.S. and abroad.

Miller and Van Natta have been trying to refocus MySpace on its historical strength of music and entertainment, a strategy that led to the recent acquisition of online music company iLike.

In addition to capturing its original essence and streamlining its business operations, MySpace must be innovative, Miller said. What it must not do is go back to attempt to "fix" the strategy that led it astray.

"Fix implies something was broken and you just put it back together the way it was and [consider] it's fixed. That's the wrong way to think about it. You have to think ahead," Miller said.

An example of the strategy to turn MySpace's fortunes around is this week's announcement of new music and video offerings, he said. MySpace announced a new MySpace music video service, music artist dashboard, iTunes integration and iLike integrations.

"We're going back to basics in that sense, but you have to make it relevant to today and going forward," said Miller, a former AOL CEO.

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