Entertainment behind the scenes
MySpace Cafe at Sundance. Is it Yahoo II: the sequel?
Years ago at the Sundance Film Festival, Yahoo! sponsored a small cafe where festivalgoers could drop in — if they were on the list — and grab a quick bite to eat. But over time, it seems Yahoo’s fame and fortune as an Internet portal have receded, and in it’s place popped up social networking site MySpace. And in recent years, MySpace has sponsored the cafe at Sundance.
Now, it seems that in its fifth year (2009) MySpace is facing the keen competitive threat of social networking site Facebook. So, when we sat down with MySpace CEO Chris DeWolfe in the MySpace Cafe, we couldn’t help but note the irony. Could MySpace be “Yahoo II: The Sequel”? (We couldn’t resist the movie pun. It is Sundance, after all). DeWolfe laughed. He doesn’t see it that way at all and, in fact, he said the outlook for MySpace appears bright.
“During the first half of our fiscal year, we are up (in revenues) year over year, and we’re profitable. We’re cautiously optimistic over the next 6 months,” he said about the business climate. “The overall advertising marketing, in general, both online and offline is softening … how that affects us in three or four months is really difficult to say … (but) the economic downturn during Bear Stearns and the financial crisis, we’ve done great through all that, and again we’re up year over year.”
DeWolfe noted that currently MySpace has 76 million unique users in the U.S. to Facebook’s roughly 46 million. He added that MySpace is the No. 1-trafficked Web site in the U.S. And yes, Facebook was growing but so was MySpace. He talked about Facebook being a good site for communications, while MySpace focused on being a place for pop culture lovers, movies, music, video and such. “We’re focused much more broadly. It’s much more than e-mail and an address book. It’s people, content and culture … talk to anyone in the creative community, and they love MySpace,” DeWolfe said.
To that end, husband-and-wife acting duo Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore will launch, this Monday on MySpace, a video featuring more than 50 Hollywood celebrities who have answered President-elect Barack Obama’s call for community service by pledging to take positive action on social causes and encouraging others to do so.
So, maybe MySpace’s future is secure. Time will tell. But if it is, that would be a positive in one sense, at least, because after having been at both Sundance cafes — Yahoo! and MySpace – I’d say MySpace takes the cake.