Kara Swisher

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MySpace's Jason Hirschhorn Talks About "Futura," New Logo and Marketing Dude and Bands BoomTown Has Never Heard Of

Yesterday afternoon, BoomTown got on the phone for a little chitchat with MySpace Co-President Jason Hirschhorn (pictured here) about the company’s latest hire, as well as an update on major changes the social networking site is undergoing in its bid to revive itself.

Plus, since I have written a lot about the departures of execs there, such as the Partovi brothers, fair is fair to discuss the arrivals!

The most recent of which is David Donegan as MySpace’s SVP of marketing. He replaced longtime MySpace marketing head Angela Courtin, who left earlier this month.

The former managing partner of Kastner & Partners Interactive, who also has an entertainment background, had previously been the director of interactive marketing at Red Bull.

Donegan will report to Hirschhorn, who said he made the hire because he is interested in just the kind of “nontraditional marketing” for MySpace used to flack Red Bull’s energy drinks.

“We wanted a CMO who understands viral marketing, events and how to build traffic online,” said Hirschhorn in an interview with me. “And you can be scrappy and you don’t have to spend $100 million to do that.”

Take that, Yahoo (YHOO) and Microsoft (MSFT)!

Still, the job will be a big one as it entails launching a new look and feel–as well as a new logo–under an internal initiative code-named “Futura.” Rolling out in the fall and winter, it encompasses a wholesale new branding campaign for the troubled News Corp. unit.

“We are repositioning ourselves as a place for self-expression and discovery, so the marketing has to reflect that too,” said Hirschhorn about efforts MySpace has outlined to curate content better.

They include innovations in everything from video snippets to topic pages to adding trending data to pages, as well as simplified navigation and a redo of the site’s profile pages already underway.

Hirschhorn also points to platform plays for the service, such as the recent and seemingly successful effort by MySpace Music to host online auditions for Fox’s television hit, “Glee.”

That points to more entertainment, said Hirschhorn, focused on celebrities and entertainers using MySpace to “make sure fans know what they are about” and a place for those same fans to discover new acts.

Such as British band Florence & The Machine, which I have never heard of.

I will soon, insisted Hirschhorn, via MySpace Tools, which will differentiate it from leader Facebook.

“It’s not a reskinning of the site,” he said. “It is a reimagining.”

Until it is all there, though, here’s a video of Hirschhorn giving me a tour of some of the new concepts for MySpace in March:

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


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