Myspace redesigns site, launches new features

The company hopes content hubs and personalized stream will attract more Generation Y members

Myspace has launched a new version of its site that includes a whole host of new entertainment-focused features in a bid to turn around dwindling visitor numbers, and at the same time make visitors stay longer.

The company calls the new beta site a turning point, which will redefine the company as "a social entertainment destination for Gen Y," generally considered to include people born 13 to 35 years ago.

The number of unique worldwide Myspace visitors dropped by 18 per cent in September, when compared to the same period last year, according to market research company comScore. Also, the number of minutes per visitor dropped by 42.6 per cent. For the Internet as a whole, the number of visitors increased by 10 per cent, and time spent surfing went up by 3.1 per cent, comScore said.

The beta version of the new site went live on Wednesday, and will be available to all users worldwide by the end of November, according to Myspace. New users will have immediate access to the site, it said.

The beta site comes with a new user interface that aims to make it easier for users to find the wealth of content available on the site, according to Myspace.

New features include content hubs, personalized streams and a discovery tab. The content hubs can, for example, be dedicated to movies, television and celebrities as well as feature news, videos and photos from various content partners. The personalized streams will automatically learn what to feature based on a user's preferences and habits, and the always-accessible discovery tab shows content that friends are watching and what's popular on Myspace, in real time.

There will also be sites that aggregate content from news sites and blogs such as MTV, Los Angeles Times, Access Hollywood, New York Times on specific topics -- for example, popular TV shows.

The new user interface allows registered users to toggle between three different views: the traditional list; a magazine-like grid view; and the play view, which allows allows users to watch, forward and resize their updates to full screen.

Myspace will also promote what it calls curators -- which it describes as "a subset of its audience whose reputation and knowledge ... make them uniquely influential" -- by supporting them with resources and tools in order expand their reach.

The company will soon release a mobile version of the beta site, accessible on any mobile browser. A new Myspace application for iPhone and Android-based products will follow later this year, as well.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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