MySpace Drops The Ax: Laying Off 30%
Adjusting to what it calls the "realities of today's marketplace," MySpace on Tuesday announced plans to reduce its workforce by a whopping 30%. The "restructuring" plan crosses all U.S. divisions of the News Corp.-owned social network, affects some 425 employees, and lowers its total number of domestic staff to 1,000 workers.
"MySpace grew too big considering the realities of today's marketplace," Jonathan Miller, News Corp.'s CEO of Digital Media and chief digital officer, said in a statement on Tuesday. "I believe this restructuring will help MySpace operate much more effectively both structurally and financially moving forward."
The move marks MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta's first major move since replacing MySpace co-founder Chris DeWolfe in April.
"Simply put, our staffing levels were bloated and hindered our ability to be an efficient and nimble team-oriented company," Van Natta said in a statement. "Our intent is to return to an environment of innovation that is centered on our user and our product."
Recent reports speculated that MySpace could be planning to lay off as much as half of its total workforce.
Van Natta, who most recently was CEO of online music company Playlist, Inc., previously served as chief revenue officer and vice president of operations for Facebook.
Also, in March, MySpace chief operating officer Amit Kapur announced his plans to exit the company with two other senior executives to start a new venture.
Once the undisputed king of social networking, MySpace has fallen to a distant second place during the past year. Today, market leader Facebook has over 200 million users, compared with MySpace's 130 million, according to comScore.
"The one thing that is clear about social networking is that regardless of how fast a site is growing or how big it is, it can quickly fall out of favor with consumers," Jon Gibs, vice president of media and agency insights at Nielsen Online, recently told Online Media Daily. "Consumers have shown that they are willing to pick up their networks and move them to another platform, seemingly at a moment's notice."
Of note, MySpace is seen to be winning the critical arena of Web video, according to Nielsen. With 120.8 million video streams, Nielsen recently found that MySpace was the top social networking destination when ranked by streams and total minutes spent viewing video.
MySpace visitors spent 384 million minutes viewing video on the site, with an average of 38.8 minutes per viewer.
By comparison, Facebook visitors spent only 113.5 million minutes viewing video in April, with an average of 11.2 minutes per video viewer, according to Nielsen.