Friday, March 3, 2006

MySpace for Business Purposes?... Viacom Will Rise

I attended the last few hours of the Under the Radar event yesterday. The past couple I've gone to are solid. Debbie and Alison are definitely building a great brand under the IBD Network umbrella and reputation for organizing useful and interesting events.

I saw a couple interesting companies for potential partnerships with GoingOn and a couple current partners (launching GoingOn alpha testing next week). Most of the companies at the event I already beta tested, used, and read about on some tech blog.

The best part of the event was Michael Arrington's fireside chat with Ross Levinsohn, president of Fox Interactive. It was interesting to hear Ross explain Fox's approach on their past deals and how he thinks of their current acquisition targets. Would he use a service personally? How would consumers use it? How does it fit into their current slate of online services?

It was also good to hear him state how he wonders about some of these startups that wouldn't be stand-alone businesses and are one feature companies without revenues. I'm not sure if it was a direct knock, but he brought up as an example.

He went on to describe the future of MySpace and how he can see it develop into a multitude of uses. For his own social use (older demographics) to business purposes (I guess we won't be approaching Fox for investment:). I thought it was a bit of a stretch, but interesting if they can make any type of transition beyond the current core of MySpace demographics and utilization.

The surprise of the interview was when Ross mentioned that they bought a company that was one of the presenting companies at the Under the Radar event. Michael has a post and video clip about it at TechCrunch here, and Dan Farber has a post here.

Fox Interactive has been impressive in their aggressiveness and movement within the online space over the past year. I know from friend that they swept in at the last minute to take IGN away from Viacom, but Viacom will make some noise soon. I heard they are looking in the online gaming space and a couple other properties. I'll post about it only when I confirm things and given permission to do so.

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