Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Video: New MySpace Co-Presidents Hirschhorn and Jones Talk About the Past (Troubled!), Present (Work in Progress) and Future (Revival?)

On Monday, as part of a press hello-there MySpace is doing this week, BoomTown traveled to Los Angeles for the day to finally check in with the new management at the turmoil-plagued company.

That would be new Co-Presidents Jason Hirschhorn and Michael Jones, who are now ferreting away on a slow rollout of a plan to turn MySpace into a socially-charged entertainment hub.

They took over the Beverly Hills-based social networking site immediately after News Corp. (NWS) digital head Jon Miller suddenly fired CEO Owen Van Natta last month.

The pair reported to Van Natta and, according to pretty much everyone you speak to, were very much at odds with him.

Perhaps that was inevitable due to the awkward way the trio was hired at the same time last April, as part of a grand plan of overhaul.

Their arrival followed the defenestration of co-founder and CEO Chris DeWolfe, who was blamed for the declining prospects of MySpace in recent years after a red-hot start.

While former Facebook and Amazon (AMZN) exec Van Natta was selected as the experienced one in charge, Hirschhorn ran product and Jones was charged with getting the trains to run on time at MySpace–when they ran right at all, that is.

That all ended when Miller and Van Natta clashed over control of MySpace, which has about 100 million monthly visitors and just above $350 million in annual revenue.

And faster than you can say Rupe, former AOL (AOL) exec and serial entrepreneur Jones, and Hirschhorn–who is a well-known media exec with stops at Sling Media and Viacom (VIA)–got the nod.

What’s that famous Shakespeare quote? Uneasy lies the head that wears a MySpace crown? Or, in this case, two heads and two crowns!

How deliciously ripe with plot.

And so much to cover: From the corporate intrigue to how News Corp. looks at the troubled property to competition like Facebook to what to do about declining traffic, engagement and advertising revenue to rampant sale or spinoff rumors.

And most of all, and what gets unfortunately lost in all this mess–what the heck they are doing to innovate the actual product and make it into an entertainment hub.

Thus, here’s a video interview I did with Hirschhorn and Jones–at their joint desk, like some digital Oscar Madison and Felix Unger–where we talk about all this and more, including whether or not Hirschhorn is a kvetcher or not.

(He is, but I am worse!)

I also posted a tour of MySpace, in which the pair talk about their plans for the revival of the service, with the help of some visual aids.

Until then, enjoy, and no kvetching over the length:

(Full disclosure: News Corp. also owns Dow Jones, which owns this site.)


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald