CES 2012: Myspace and Panasonic launch 'Myspace TV'

By Cory Bergman 

Justin Timberlake took the stage at CES 2012 to help introduce Myspace TV, a new social TV service presented by MySpace and Panasonic. That’s right, Myspace TV, coming this spring. “We’re ready to take television and entertainment to the next step by upgrading it to the social networking experience,” explains Timberlake, who’s a co-owner of Myspace.

Myspace TV will connect viewers around their favorite content, “simplifying discovery be creating fan communities” who can comment and chat with friends in real-time. The experience will be baked into Panasonic VIERA Connect TVs as well as a second-screen companion apps, coming soon. The first channels will be focused on music, but it will expand to encompass movies, news, sports and reality channels, Myspace said, including “a growing lineup of today’s most popular broadcast and on-demand content.” Hmm, sounds a bit like Current — or Hulu, Netflix and increasingly YouTube.

When the Myspace logo first appeared on screen at Panasonic’s CES press conference, you could hear several chuckles from the crowd. Myspace, long forgotten by many, has been in a long traffic freefall.

In October 2010, News Corp. announced it was relaunching Myspace as an entertainment hub, specifically on “social entertainment experiences.” Then in June 2011, News Corp sold Myspace for $35 million to ad network Specific Media and Justin Timberlake.

“Myspace was the first successful social network because it allowed individuals to share their interests, listen to music, express their creativity and connect around the things they love,” said Myspace CEO Tim Vanderhook. “Historically, TV has been a shared experience, as people gathered together to watch their favorite programs. Our belief was that we could enhance the TV experience by increasing viewers’ ability to connect to both content and each other. By partnering with Panasonic, we’re bringing together the content that people love and a social experience in one service: Myspace TV.”

Can Myspace reinvent itself around social TV? Well, it’s a big bet, that’s for sure. We’ll keep an eye on this and provide more details as the launch nears, sometime in the first half of this year.