When I got home from covering the Web 2.0 Summit keynote with News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe, I found the following email in my inbox: "This information is not for on-the-record use, it’s simply a background overview for your reference if you‘re planning to cover tonight’s discussion." Funny, I never recall asking for this document, let alone agreeing to keep it off the record — an arrangement that, in my experience, requires the mutual consent of reporter and source. So here, forthwith, are News Corp.'s official talking points about Wednesday night's event. Contrast them with my live reporting. Of most vital interest: The new San Francisco office is hiring 200 people.
Please find the below background information based on tonight’s keynote dinner conversation between Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, News Corporation and Chris DeWolfe, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, MySpace.
This information is not for on-the-record use, it’s simply a background overview for your reference if you‘re planning to cover tonight’s discussion.
Should you have any questions—please feel free to email Dani Dudeck (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Tracy Akselrud (email@example.com) and please cc myself, Casi Kneebone (firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEB 2.0 DINNER CONVERSATION KEYNOTE—MYSPACE’S BACKGROUND OVERVIEW
Rupert Murdoch: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, News Corporation
Chris DeWolfe: Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder, MySpace
1. MYSPACE CONFIRMS CONTRACTS
• Chris (co-founder and CEO of MySpace) confirm that he and Tom Anderson (co-founder and President) have renewed their contracts and will continue their respective roles within MySpace/ News Corp for two years.
2. MYSPACE CONFIRMS NEAR TERM DEVELOPER PLATFORM
• Original openness and personalization of the MySpace community was integral to the company’s success, MySpace helped develop the widget eco-system and it made the site a more fun, customizable experience.
• We believe the industry’s embracing the idea of openness is largely a good thing for users.
o We will formalize our relationships with the developer community and roll out a new platform in the coming months
o We believe the current state of openness is just the tip of the iceberg—users should be more involved in the process
• Our developer integration strategy centers on complimenting and enriching the user experience.
• Steps to the strategy as we roll it out include:
1.) In the coming weeks we’re launching a catalogue of all widgets & tools available on MySpace
2.) In several months we will make industry standard APIs available through a new platform where developers can try new things in a sandbox environment
3.) Users will participate in an opt-in beta test program to determine usability
4.) Users will vote and ultimately determine which of these widgets get tightly developed into MySpace
5.) MySpace will formally introduce the best ones into the community with highly developed integration
3. SKYPE PARTNERSHIP
• This week, MySpace announced a partnership with Skype to empower its 110 million active global users with voice capabilities.
• The announcement unveils MySpaceIM with Skype, a new product that integrates MySpace’s popular IM client—currently the world’s fastest- growing IM platform with more than 25 million installed users—with Skype’s voice-calling capability. (Product available in November)
• Skype is a great example of how we look forward to working with partners to extend the MySpace community into other useful applications on the Internet. Through this partnership, the Skype community can now access their MySpace network, and content through the Skype client, and visa versa.
4. EVOLUTION OF MYSPACE MUSIC—SONY BMG
• This week we announced a licensing pact—our first with a music label—with SONY BMG ENTERTAINMENT—a key step in the evolution of the MySpace Music platform.
• The deal calls for MySpace and SONY BMG to share in sponsorship and advertising revenues, underscores both organizations’ commitment to building new business models that benefit artists and consumers alike.
• Under the terms of the deal, SONY BMG will license music videos, select audio material, and other content from its extensive artist roster and will make the content available on its artists’ MySpace profile pages. MySpace and Sony BMG will share in sponsorship and advertising revenues generated from the music videos and profile pages. Additionally, MySpace will work with SONY BMG to promote the music company's artists throughout the site.
5. SF OFFICE OPENING
• SF office soft launching this week.
• SOMA district, on 2nd street, cross street Brannan, next to the ballpark.
• All heads for the first year will largely MySpace dedicated (developers, engineers, MySpace-sales).
• Half of our current employees are engineers—we need to immediately fill our SF office with 50 new engineers and expect within 1 ½ years we’ll have 200 heads in that office.
• The Bay Area is pulsating with innovation and disruptive ideas—we want to be closer to that action. We are doubling our workforce in the next year, hiring new developers, engineers, and programmers to help bring our full product pipeline to life.
• We recently opened a satellite office in Seattle to fill our need for .net developers. Building on the template of the Seattle office, we’re going to continue finding the best ways to grow our back-end team. The Bay Area is a natural next step to extend the talented team working behind the scenes to keep MySpace the most trafficked site online and industry leading global social network.
• MySpace is currently operational and completely localized in more than 20 international markets—we have another 10 on the way including Russia, India and Poland.
• Our head of international, Travis Katz, relocated this week to London—international HQ will now be out of that office where we currently have approximately 100 people.
• MySpace is the #1 social network in Europe.
• MySpace currently adds 300,000 new users each day and it’s the most trafficked site in the United States.
• We currently have approximately 700 global MySpace employees—we plan to hire another 700 this year.
7. NEWS CORP/ MYSPACE ACQUISITION ANNIVERSARY
• Tonight is the two year anniversary of the News Corp acquisition of MySpace.
• When News Corp acquired MySpace, the company had 10 million unique users—MySpace currently has 110 active global monthly user