MySpace to cut a third of its US workforce

News Corp-owned social network MySpace is to cut about one third of its US workforce, as the company admitted it had grown "too big considering the realities of today's marketplace".

The move, which MySpace said is "part of a plan to restructure itself into a more innovative, efficient, and entrepreneurial business", will reduce the total number of domestic staff at MySpace to 1,000 employees.

MySpace chief executive, Owen Van Natta, said: "Simply put, our staffing levels were bloated and hindered our ability to be an efficient and nimble team-oriented company. I understand these changes are painful for many. They are also necessary for the long-term health and culture of MySpace.

"Our intent is to return to an environment of innovation that is centered on our user and our product."

Jonathan Miller, News Corporation chief executive of digital media and chief digital officer, added: "MySpace grew too big considering the realities of today's marketplace. I believe this restructuring will help MySpace operate much more effectively, both structurally and financially moving forward. I am confident in MySpace's next phase under the leadership of Owen and his team."

The cuts come just weeks after News Corp chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch said MySpace was well positioned for growth, adding that the company would be making MySpace a much more attractive site, focused on ad revenue.

"We're not going for the Facebook model of getting hundreds and hundreds of millions of people who don't bring any advertising with them at all," he said.

Murdoch's comments followed publication of News Corp's Q1 2009 financial results, which showed News Corp's "other" segment, which houses assets such as MySpace and Fox Interactive Media (FIM), reporting a pre-tax loss of $89m in Q1, an $82m decline from a year earlier.

Earlier this month, Jay Stevens, a founding member of MySpace's UK team, announced he was jumping ship to join the US advertising technology start-up, the Rubicon Project.

He was the latest executive to exit MySpace, following the departure of co-founder and chief executive Chris DeWolfe, who was replaced by former Facebook executive Van Natta.

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