Pop star Justin Timberlake, who bought a stake of former social networking star Myspace last year, announced a new evolution for the website, and TV, at the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas.
The new Myspace TV offering comes as the result of a partnership with consumer electronics company Panasonic, aims to integrate Panasonic TVs into user’s daily social life, and provide a much needed boost for Myspace, which has seen revenues and membership numbers dwindle out over the past few years. Mr. Timberlake, who got his start in show business as a cast member of the Micky Mouse Club, then became famous as a member of another group – the boy band N’Sync, said Myspace TV is the “evolution of one our greatest inventions, the television.”
NewsCorp acquired Myspace for $580 million in 2005, and after years of struggling, unsuccessfully, to emerge from the shadow of Facebook and other social networking web sites, was purchased by Specific Media in 2011. Myspace’s new chief executive Chris Vanderhook talked up the new MySpace TV at the consumer electronics show: “Myspace TV is an over-the-top social television service that brings an entirely new dimension to the TV experience you’re familiar with today.”
Users of Myspace TV will be able chat with their friends while watching live TV on their laptop, computer tablet, or television screen, find videos and then play them on their TV using the Myspace Companion App. Panasonic showed a video of young African Americans watching a hip-hop show in different locations, then sharing it, and another with male sports fans watching a football game in separate locations, and jumping up excitedly when their team scored a touchdown.
Panasonic is a huge company and so its endorsement in Myspace will give it powerful leverage as it tries gain traction in this new social TV space. All Panasonic TVs will have Myspace, but the company aims to bring it to other devices as well.
Myspace chief operating officer Chris Vanderhook noted the importance of its partnership with Panasonic: “Panasonic is a massive company. They handpicked Myspace to deliver this product. It’s a great testament. They’ve seen the product and they believe in what we can bring to the TV experience.”
Timberlake, acknowledging the challenges Myspace faces as it works to transform itself into a media service available on many devices, said: “To the millions of Myspace users, we want to thank you for sticking with us in this shift.”