Peter Chernin, chief operating officer of News Corp., will step down as of June 30. The big question is what will happen to Fox Interactive Media--mostly known as MySpace--now that Chernin is gone.
The key paragraph in News Corp.'s statement on Chernin's departure is this one (Techmeme):
The Los Angeles-based Fox businesses will report directly to Mr. Murdoch upon Mr. Chernin’s departure.
Mr. Murdoch is Rupert Murdoch, head honcho as News Corp.
On recent conference calls, Murdoch didn't talk a lot about MySpace. When he did mention MySpace he focused on how the social network needs to grow a lot and make gobs of cash. Here's what Murdoch said about MySpace on its most recent conference call:
The same is true at Fox Interactive Media, where we have been investing and expanding MySpace into a global social portal, a destination that is as much about entertainment and lifestyle as it is about social networking. We have launched MySpace Music, which is off to a great start with partnerships with a number of major and independent labels and high profile artists.
With MySpace Video we are making deals with film and television producers for original content that will not need drive increased viewer engagement but also deliver enhanced sponsorship opportunities and revenue. And MySpace Mobile is a great success story with new device applications now running on the iPhone and Blackberry and a popular website.
Despite a slight downturn in revenue this quarter, let's not lose sight that after five years MySpace still leads the social networking category in the US and has become a substantial business that we believe will continue to grow.
The operative word here is grow. No pressure there MySpace.
Chernin is launching a Fox based production company so he's not moving far from the fold. But nonetheless it should be quite interesting to hear Murdoch riff on plans for FIM going forward.