via Huff Post
(By BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP/Huffington Post) NEW YORK — MySpace, the online social hub that’s been fighting to stay relevant in the age of Facebook and Twitter, is overhauling its image and its website into an entertainment destination for its mostly younger audience.
If the relaunch is successful, MySpace may still become the cultural powerhouse MTV was in the 1990s, when its decision to play a new music video could turn a band’s fortunes overnight. Keeping with the age of the social Web, however, MySpace won’t be the only one deciding what’s cool. The site will also make its most loyal users the curators in a feature that’s coming at a yet-unspecified date.
“The MTV influence is really obvious,” Williamson said, adding that MySpace still has “pull with the audience it’s trying to reach – young people.”
There are big cosmetic changes too. Long criticized for cluttered, clunky home pages, MySpace is streamlining its design. It will show fewer ads, but place them more prominently. It also will have far fewer buttons and page templates. In a presentation, the company called it “cleaning up MySpace e-waste.”
“If we are refurbishing a house, it’s starting from the ground up,” Jones said of the eight-month redesign process.
MySpace has long fallen behind Facebook in user numbers and estimated advertising revenue, in part because it never appealed to older users. Its roughly 130 million users are mostly under 35, while Facebook’s fastest-growing user base is those over 35. MySpace now says it’s not trying to compete with social networks like Facebook.
“We’re working on refocusing the company (and) narrowing down what our product does,” Jones said.
Jones is the last of a three-person executive team that joined the company in April 2009. His former co-president Jason Hirschhorn, left in June and former CEO Owen Van Natta, once chief revenue officer of Facebook, left in February.
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AP Business Writer Ryan Nakashima in Los Angeles contributed to this story.