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Media Watch: Selling MySpace for a Song, Tina Brown Defends Photoshopping Princess Diana

by Anne Thompson and Maggie Lange
June 30, 2011 5:03 AM
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Thompson on Hollywood

For $35 million, mostly in stock, Specific Media acquired Myspace, for a "garage sale price," wrote The Wrap. Specific Media, an advertising network, used Justin Timberlake as their hook, said their CEO in an interview. The pop star, actor and modern fedora-wearer agreed to play a “major role” in fostering the creative direction for the company, which he prepped for playing a savvy internet mogul in The Social Network. Specific's new strategy for MySpace will be to organize users around their interests, like music, rather than their social life.

Here's the LAT and NYT. News Corp got plenty of value out of Myspace, which it acquired six years ago for $580 million, but focused on monetizing the site rather than serving its members, as Facebook has relentlessly done. Myspace proves a useful example of what happens when a successful dotcom is bought by a larger corporation. (Rotten Tomatoes did no better when it was part of Fox Digital Media, and is now part of the independently run Flixster, owned by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment). At the time Viacom chief Sumner Redstone (who has been keeping a low profile of late) fired his chief executive Tom Freston over not grabbing Myspace. Redstone dodged a bullet.

Thompson on Hollywood


Meanwhile, Google is introducing Google + in a bid to compete with Facebook's social network. While some of us have not yet been invited (remember Google Wave, Google Buzz?), Google + is all over Twitter. It offers group text messaging and group chatting and could boost Android sales. Here's the NYT.

In what looks like a desperate circulation-driven move very early in her tenure as Newsweek editor-in-chief, Tina Brown found herself on the firing line for placing a photoshopped image of Princess Diana on the July 4 cover of Newsweek. She defended her actions: "I wanted to make her a time traveler," she said on MSNBC's Morning Joe.

Well, she got attention, but it may not have been what the editor-in-chief of both Newsweek and The Daily Beast (and author of the 2007 NYT bestseller The Diana Chronicles) was bargaining for when she wrote the cover story that imagines what the Princess of Wales' life might be like if she had lived. Newsweek even created a spurious Facebook page for the People’s Princess. Brown's article is doting and sycophantic, and far from the dry newsy Newsweek's signature style. But someone has to breath life into the dying weekly. You can argue that vociferously negative media reaction--the Atlantic Wire’s Adam Clark Estes called the cover story“creepy"--is better than no readers at all.

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More: Web/Tech, Daily Read, MySpace

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