MySpace reclaims relevance with entertainment branding

For weeks leading up to the November 20 opening of Summit Entertainment's Twilight: New Moon, stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner made the talk-show and magazine circuit - and were also all over MySpace.

For weeks leading up to the November 20 opening of Summit Entertainment's Twilight: New Moon, stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner made the talk-show and magazine circuit - and were also all over MySpace.

The studio used MySpace exclusively to release the first trailer on May 31, bringing in 4 million views in the first 24 hours and making it MySpace's biggest success to date. Later, MySpace announced and streamed the film's soundtrack and posted exclusive video content and photos, while the film's November 16 premiere was live streamed on MySpace, getting nearly 3 million views.

Beyond the music
MySpace started as a destination for musicians to showcase their work and gain fans online. And while recent attention in the social media space has centered on Facebook and Twitter, MySpace is working to engage with entertainment companies and properties, allowing them to offer exclusive content on the site.

Though Facebook has surpassed MySpace in terms of members, the entertainment industry is still selecting the latter, noting MySpace's 125 million monthly visitors, engaged audience, and ability to build networks.

"MySpace is important because it's totally different from Facebook," says Bladimiar Norman, SVP of digital at entertainment firm 42West, who previously worked at Paramount Vantage. "You can do content-heavy, fun things on MySpace. With Facebook, it's just the social engine."

"MySpace is setting out to build the next generation content distribution platform," says Dani Dudeck, VP of global corporate communications for the company, adding that it is about "socialized content." MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta, who joined from Facebook in April, promoted its new strategy at the Web 2.0 Summit in October.

"A great example of our progress and ability to socialize content is music," Dudeck notes. "Music is a springboard for a larger strategy in terms of how we plan on socializing other parts of our site."

With the growth of MySpace Trailer Park, movies like The Lovely Bones and Transylmania have used the site to debut their trailers and other exclusive content, while musicians like Alicia Keys have introduced videos for their songs.

The success of the content from New Moon "personifies how My-Space's model of socializing content lengthens a brand runway," Dudeck adds. "There is an incredible hunger for the content on MySpace. If you provide the users with the right social tools, they're able to spread it on their own terms."

In October, Paramount Digital Entertainment introduced a suspense thriller Web series, Circle of Eight, which also includes games within the film, exclusively on MySpace.

Keith Quinn, SVP of creative development and production, says the company used MySpace for the campaign because of the large reach as an online video destination and "the social network underpinning them." Fans can not only view the videos, but also talk about the game and mystery while on MySpace. Additionally, he adds, MySpace does a good job promoting this entertainment content to its global audience.

Closer to the audience
"People on MySpace are predisposed to like what's there and are probably there for a reason," adds Quinn. MySpace is able to promote new and exclusive content on its network and can reach out to fans with similar interests. This helps Paramount build a closer relationship with its audience.

"TV and film producers don't have a direct relationship with the audience," he says. "MySpace gives us that direct relationship."

That ability, along with reaching an engaged audience and allowing exclusive and creative content, is helping MySpace rebuild its social media reputation and reach.

"I think MySpace had a bit of a lull period, and there's been a different, fresh approach to the way they are going about things," Norman says. "Their integration with the record labels, movie studios, and television networks - where they are really getting into those environments from a creative type of experience - is back on track to where it was when MySpace first started."

Movies and music on MySpace:

Nightmare on Elm Street
New Line Cinema's remake of the horror classic debuted its hi-def trailer in September, building buzz for the film's April 2010 release

Carrie Underwood
The country music star combined old school country with new media when she live streamed her November 14 Grand Ole Opry performance on MySpace

Old Dogs
The John Travolta and Robin Williams Disney movie used MySpace to feature exclusive clips from behind the scenes and interviews with the stars

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