Tuesday, April 24, 2007

MySpace test launches sites for Hispanic users


MySpace test launches sites for Hispanic users

By Kenneth LiTue Apr 24, 12:21 AM ET

News Corp.'s popular Internet social network, MySpace, plans to launch a test version of its U.S. site in Spanish and another that targets users in Latin American countries on Tuesday, as part of a rapid global expansion that will see the service operate in about 20 global regions by June.

The site, which currently operates in 15 regions, allows its more than 90 million global unique visitors to share pictures, music and videos.

The business, which is expected to account for about 2 percent of News Corp.'s estimated fiscal 2007 revenue, is seen as a major growth center for the Rupert Murdoch-run media conglomerate in the next five years.

International expansion is key to MySpace growth, executives said. About 50 percent of MySpace's overall growth comes from international regions in February, the company said. It has launched into new regions including striking a joint venture in Japan, the Netherlands and Germany.

MySpace sees the Hispanic market as one of its most lucrative opportunities as it is one of the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the U.S. according to the 2000 U.S. census.

Without much marketing, some 43 percent of all U.S.-based Hispanic Internet users have visited MySpace in March, according to Nielsen Netratings, making it the top five most visited site by Hispanics.

MySpace en Espanol will seek to offer U.S.-based Hispanics a version of the site in Spanish and English and display more music, programming for Hispanic users, executives said.

A separate pan-regional site focused on Latin American users, MySpace Latino America, will target an estimated 150 million residents in the Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela area.

MySpace could face difficulties targeting the region, each with its own cultural touchstones and behavior. But over time, the company said it will work with local teams to create programming and to form partnerships with local companies over time.

"As those markets grow, we're likely to launch more country-specific sites in Latin America," Travis Katz, Senior Vice President and General Manager of MySpace International, said in a phone interview.

As part of the expansion, MySpace said it plans to test launch a Brazilian site this summer. In January, MySpace test launched a site targeting Mexico.

"We're moving rapidly to build communities that reflect and respect the lifestyles of our diverse members," Katz said.

Katz declined to speak about a much anticipated launch into China, where it aims to enter the market with a local partner.

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