It looks like MySpace is getting closer to raiding the competition — at least, one step removed. Facebook veteran Owen Van Natta is expected to be named as the new head of News Corp’s MySpace social network on Friday.
The appointment comes after Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate said earlier this week that MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe would not renew his CEO contract, which expires in the fall. News Corp also said co-founder Tom Anderson was in talks about taking a new role in the company.
Facebook has already surpassed MySpace in worldwide users. Even though Van Natta, like other high-profile Facebook executives, had left the company already, the question now is whether he can sprinkle some much-needed fairy dust on MySpace that will help it improve its flagging performance. In one sense, this might be starting already. Kara Swisher, proprietor of the Boomtown blog at the News Corp/Dow Jones-owned All Things Digital, reports that part of Van Natta’s remit will be to recruit more new talent to MySpace.
Keep an eye on:
Joost, the online video website that was once seen as the main rival to Google’s YouTube, is up for sale, and Time Warner Cable could be interested. (Financial Times)
Hollywood and RealNetworks Inc square off in federal court about RealDVD, a software program that allows you to copy movie discs. (The New York Times)
What’s ailing Jay Leno? The “Tonight” show host checked into a hospital with an undisclosed illness. (Associated Press)
The New York Times has no plans to go private, and plans to build its online business and cut costs despite “brutal” conditions. How long for? (Reuters)
(Photo: MySpace founders DeWolfe and Anderson. Reuters)