News Corp. President Peter Chernin explained how MySpace provides a good example of how his company would be a good steward for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal if it were able to acquire the company. "We had to learn a completely different paradign," Chernin said, "where our job is to offer a fabric, a place for users to express themselves, not to jam tools and apps down their throat."
He was speaking during and interview with Kara Swisher at the D conference. Not jamming tools down users' throats was one of the reasons News Corp. acquired Photobucket, which was the biggest source of photos on MySpace and also had the potential to take ad dollars away. "We developed own photo tools and increased number of photos users could store, but Photobucket does a better job and we will not force them to use ours."
He also talked about MySpace's core value as a business--serving targeted ads to hundreds of millions of users. "We have more structured data than anyone else on the Internet. We have people telling us [about themselves] when they register, and they go through an enormous amount customizing pages. We know exactly what they care about and think about."
Swisher asked Chernin what was his biggest fear about MySpace. "My biggest fear is continuing to innovate and let users innovate," he said. If MySpace fails on that front, another company can come along to take a major share the social networking space. Facebook has certainly gotten ahead of MySpace in allowing users and developers to innovate with its new platform, and is attracting a more lucrative demographic.
Chernin didn't volunteer or intimate that Facebook is a competitor that keeps him up at night, but allowed that Facebook is "an excellent service and more utilitarian than MySpace." He described MySpace as more chaotic than Facebook. Out of chaos comes order, sometimes. Facebook seems to have figured that out ahead of MySpace. "It's in the very first days," Chernin said. Many more innovations and challenges will come.