MySpace is now offering downloadable episodes of the Fox show 24 for $1.99 per episode. I was interviewed by Jennifer LeClair for E-Commerce Times. This is a pretty intriguing mash-up of social networking and traditional media. I applaud them for experimenting with it — someone has to, and this is easy for them to do — no big strategic alliances and joint ventures to work out — just do it.
One of the questions Jennifer asked me was whether MySpace is losing any of its “cool” factor because of this and other recent changes. That’s been a concern since their acquisition by News Corp. But here’s my answer:
“Big shifts can always happen, but MySpace members are pretty invested in the brand, with bulletins, friends lists that hold thousands of people, blogs and groups,” Allen told the E-Commerce Times. “MySpace would have to really make a huge error to lose any more than a small handful of members.”
But I am a bit skeptical. Doesn’t everyone have a DVR or VCR? And do people really want to watch full-length episodes on a mini-screen?
“There is a lot of potential here for MySpace,” said Allen. “I think it will grow as more consumers have portable video players. Right now, people would still rather watch ’24’ on their televisions.”
In my conversation with Jennifer, I speculated as to Fox/MySpace’s reason for doing this, and it turned out I hit the nail on the head:
Beyond branding, MySpace.com’s decision to sell episodes of “24” opens the door for the company to morph itself from a social platform only to a content delivery channel, Levinsohn [president of Fox Interactive Media] mentioned. It may be a long-term play, though.