Thursday, February 11, 2016

History Repeats As Time Buys Myspace

Myspace is not exactly a social media platform anymore. It’s more like a web site for watching music videos. But it is Myspace’s social media past that got Time Inc. interested in purchasing it — for data mining of the user data, if you believe the official announcement.

Time Inc. has purchased Myspace in what is not a repeat of the AOL Time Warner deal, described as “the biggest mistake in corporate history.” Or is it? Is the following quote from a Time Warner executive describing the AOL deal from 2000 or a Time executive describing the Myspace deal this week?

Marketers are selecting media partners that have either data-driven capabilities or premium content; we will be able to deliver both in a single platform, and will stand apart from those that offer just one or the other.

I know, I couldn’t tell either. It might just as well describe either deal. It seems the myth of marrying access and content is just as easily believed today as it was 16 years ago.

But wait. Didn’t Time Inc. just get done unloading Time Warner Cable and before that, AOL, exactly because the marriage of access and content didn’t make sense? Well, yes, but . . .