MTV Does Social Networking (Finally)


Fortune asks the question whether or not Sumner Redstone will ever get over losing out on MySpace (Which, allegedly, was one of the major reasons Tom Freston got the boot). Ironically, by not jumping at the asking price, Freston may have done the right thing for Viacom. The nature of the social networking beast is that it is a frisky monster whose popularity waxes and wanes at an unpredictable clip. Freston’s conservative approach may have been the perfect tonic to an aggressively acquisitive media moment.

Lately, MySpace has been losing the battle of cool social networking sites to Facebook, despite the fact that the NewsCorp property brought in $10 million in profit on revenue of $550 million in the fiscal year ended June 30. And who knows whether even Facebook in a year will be as popular as it is at present? Enter: Flux; Viacom’s take on a social network site at the tail end — no pun intended — of Britney’s magnificent flameout (and’s embarrassment of riches) is impeccable in its timing.

”… Flux, a system that was set to go live Thursday night and will eventually allow registered users of,, and any of the MTV’s hundreds of other websites to personalize pages with blogs, video, photos, online friends, and so forth.

”The twist is, these personal pages will also appear when they sign into any other MTV site, as well as any third-party sites in the Flux network; two of roughly 20 launch partners are the official Web site for the girl group Pussycat Dolls and, a website for skateboarders. And, in a spirit of openness that Viacom isn’t always known for, Flux users can easily click an icon and copy material saved on their Flux pages — say, a video clip from the MTV show ‘The Hills’ — to their pages on MySpace or other existing social network account.”

Paidcontent, we cannot fail to note, is underwhelmed by the announcement. But could Tom Freston’s conservative approach to social networking — much reviled at the time — have the last laugh?

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