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Monday, August 18, 2008

Fox News gives Myspace the Cold Shoulder

Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch and his corporation, NewsCorp, must not value Myspace, as much as they did in July 2005, when they purchased  it for $580 million. Fox News, another division of Newscorp, made Facebook its social network of choice.
(Ironically, MSNBC's social network page can be found on Myspace)
Why did Fox opt for Facebook? According to Fox, it was all about the audience.

Facebook is currently the leading social network worldwide, said Joel Cheatwood, the senior vice president for development at Fox News. They also have a user that’s a little older and a little more sophisticated.On Tuesday, Fox will roll out a redesigned Facebook page using seemingly every feature that the site offers: discussion boards, a wall for users’ comments, reviews, polls and photo submissions.

Whether it's accurate or not, Cheatwood's statement reflects a prevailing viewpoint -that considers Facebook's audience as a smarter user base that is actively engaged in the news and political scene. Fox's Facebook page is the latest move in a network and industry-wide effort to attract a larger audience in the 18-35 demographic to election coverage. ABC, CBS and PBS have each appointed student journalists to provide feature stories geared toward the next generation, and NBC appointed Luke Russert, son of the late Tim Russert, to handle the youth angle. Today's article by the New York Times claimed that Fox News' TV audience is the oldest of the three major cable news networks.

A biannual news consumption study released Monday by the Pew Research Center found that only a third of news consumers younger than 25 watch TV news on an average day. That’s still twice as many as the 15 percent who read a newspaper on an average day.The gray-haired audiences for television news seem to confirm the statistics. According to Nielsen Media Research, the median age of the top-rated Fox News audience is 63.9 years old, nearly four years older than that of the second-highest-rated news channel, CNN, and eight years older than for the third-place channel, MSNBC.

Considering those numbers, Fox's renewed effort to attract a younger audience may prove to be a worthy enterprise, but major advertisers are still going to opt for the broadcast TV ads until Social Networks show stronger results from banner and webcast ads.
 Three key questions Fox should ask:

  • How many Facebook members are already loyal TV viewers?
  • What Facebook tools can we use to attract new TV viewers?
  • How can we bridge and expand the two audiences?

Meanwhile, Myspace and MSNBC are trying to answer the same questions.While Fox dominates the overall ratings,it lacks diversity in its viewership, where quality is just as important as quantity.


By Matt O'Hern at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

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