News Corp: We're Not Talking To Yahoo Or Anyone Else, Because We Don't Need To -- MySpace Booming

That on-again, off-again interest News Corp. (NWS) has had in combining/spinning off MySpace with AOL, or Yahoo, or MSN? Definitely off again, the company said today. Here’s Rupert Murdoch and COO Peter Chernin during the earnings call this afternoon:

Chernin: “We’re not talking to anyone right now”. We’ve said we’d be interested in opportunistic conversations, “but they obviously went nowhere and we’re not talking to anybody right now.” Murdoch: “We’ve already moved on from those conversations.”

As always, we’ll note that Rupert and Peter have always left themselves plenty of slack when discussing MySpace plans. So they could still end up in some kind of deal down the road. But for time being, they’re keeping MySpace in house, and they’ve got a decent argument for doing so: After a stumble this spring, when revenues decreased and the company came up short of its FY goals, they’ve had a nice bounce-back quarter.

The numbers for Fox Interactive Media, which is predominately MySpace: Revenues of $225 million, up 23% y/y, and operating income of $6 million, down from $30 million last year.

Those revenue numbers are still below Q2’s $233 million, but they’re up from $210m in Q2. And the company is predicting 30% revenue growth for FY09. And it promises that margins will expand. Most encouragingly, Chernin says that while other online players are encountering softness, the current quarter looks promising as well.

Notes from his discussion of FIM follow:

·       Quite pleased with the momentum at MySpace

o       Revenues are up quarter to quarter and year over year

o       We hit an all time high of 74 million unique visitors in May

o       Pacing well against internal expectations

o       Redesign received very well

·       Dramatic increases in branded display in first mo of ’09

o       100% growth in Financial Services

o       150% growth in CPG

o       170% growth in Food & Beverage

·       Overall pacing exceeding expectations by double digits

·       HyperTargeting continued successes

o       Nearly 50% of all orders now include some form of hyper-targeting – so, it’s beginning to get traction.

o       Two straight quarters of hyper-targeted CPMS exceeding non hyper- targeted CPMS by more than 2x

o       Second straight quarter of orders with hyper-targeting being 60% larger than orders without hyper-targeting.

·       Advertisers are increasingly turning to MySpace

o       Average user is spending more time on the home page – up 54% during the week of July 22 versus the same week last year

o       Warner Bros. homepage takeover resulted in over 73 million streams of the trailer, with 27% of users viewing the video in its entirety

·       Building up for the Music JV

o       65% of users already embedding music in profiles

See Also:
News Corp. Q4: TV Terrible As Promised: MySpace Revenue Up, Profits Down

News Corp.: Selling Ads For MySpace Is Hard Work!
News Corp Web Unit Sees Revenue Drop; Admits It Won’t Hit FY 08 Revenue Goals
News Corp On Microsoft, Yahoo: Talks? What Talks?

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