Wednesday, January 28, 2009

News Corp cuts jobs

NEW YORK - NEWS Corp's Fox Interactive Media digital division, which includes the popular social networking site MySpace, is laying off about 5 per cent of its workforce, or about 100 people, to cut costs, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The cuts, which began over the last month, include all groups from MySpace to photo-sharing site Photobucket to mobile, the Journal said, citing a person familiar with the situation.

A Fox Interactive Media spokesman confirmed to the Journal that several of the groups within the division were eliminating jobs.

As far as MySpace was concerned, spokesman Dani Dudeck said the group was still hiring.

'We are constantly aligning our business and resources to focus on the core strategic initiatives of MySpace. We currently have open positions, are actively hiring in areas including but not limited to MySpace Music, Business Development, and other product initiatives,' she said in a statement.

'We expect to have more MySpace employees at the end of this fiscal year than we currently have.'

In December, MySpace CEO Chris Dewolfe was upbeat about prospects for the social networking business. 'Our revenue and profits are significant and they continue to grow in spite of the poor economy,' he told the Reuters Media Summit by video conference from Los Angeles.

'We haven't really seen any impact, other than we think we could have grown even more than we have,' he said then, pointing to an 18 per cent year-on-year growth in revenue last quarter.

MySpace is the world's biggest social networking site. It lets people set up home pages featuring their writings, videos and other ways of expressing their personality and sharing things they like, such as music. The site is free, and supported by advertising.

News Corp reports earnings next week, and could show FIM profits being further eroded by spending initiatives.

Total revenue at the division increased 17 per cent in the fiscal first quarter, but was down from 23 per cent growth in the prior quarter, the Journal reported. -- THOMSON REUTERS
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