MySpace looks to refocus with entertainment-centric redesign

Having all but lost the social networking war, MySpace on Wednesday decided to lean on one of the few areas where it still has a good deal of clout: entertainment. The newly redesigned MySpace focuses less on the "friends" aspect it pioneered in the space, and more on sharing videos, music, and games with friends.

The site says it wants to become a "social entertainment destination" for the Generation 'Y' crowd. CEO Mike Jones said that the move marked a complete change in strategy for the company, and focused on its existing strengths. This change may also be the last best hope for the site given how far it has fallen.

Around the time of MySpace's purchase by News Corp in 2005, the site had some 17.2 million monthly visitors according to data from research firm comScore. While the site has continued to grow to some 50 million users per month, Facebook is far more popular: some 124 million use the site monthly.

Those users that remain however continue to be loyal, and seem to congregate around the site's entertainment functionality. It is from here the rebirth of MySpace starts. "Myspace is unique in that it is powered by the passions of our users, who program the site by expressing interests, sharing tastes and knowledge around particular topics, and scouting out up-and-coming subcultures," Jones said.

MySpace's new look would begin rolling out to users during the day Wednesday and worldwide by the end of November, the company said. Instead of focusing on the relationships between friends themselves, the site now aggregates the entertainment consumption habits of those friends to introduce the user to new and trending content.

Other new features include a 'badges' system similar to Foursquare, awarding users for their participation on the site, a recommendation engine which personalizes the site based on the user's consumption habits, and organization of content into 'hubs', which gather together content on the site on a particular topic.

A mobile version of the site is to follow shortly, with updates to its Android and iOS applications coming by the end of the year.

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