Team MySpace (NWS) is on an international tour this week, where Chris DeWolfe and co are talking up the company’s plans in Korea, India, etc. Message: We get it – it’s totally important for us to grow outside the U.S.. WSJ ($):
“Every single market we’re going [into], we’re seeing significant growth in revenues across the board,” said Travis Katz, senior vice president in charge of MySpace’s international business, in an interview.
“We have more than four and a half million users in Germany and, in less than a year, more than three million users in France. In China, we’ve just passed a two million user mark,” he said. “We’re in 29 countries today. We’re on a very rapid expansion.”
To be fair, the MySpace folks have been looking outside the U.S. for growth for at least a couple years, and have been pretty frank about the challenges they’re facing in markets where there’s a clear incumbent (Bebo in the UK, CyWorld in Korea, etc). Two problems: As we’ve noted before, Facebook, which only just started to push outside the U.S. last year, is growing like a weed internationally:
But Facebook isn’t MySpace’s biggest problem: That would be the demand, from investors and Rupert Murdoch, that it turn its huge traffic into money. And that’s where international growth won’t do it a ton of good, in the near-term. Because as difficult as it is as monetise social networks in the U.S., it’s even harder overseas, where the Web ad market isn’t as robust. If MySpace’s P&L is ever going to live up to the promise of its user stats, its sales team is going to have convince American advertisers that its American audience is worth much more than they think.
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