According to BBC (and others) Google and Fox Interactive Media have announced that Google will be providing all search and advertising facilities for MySpace and all of the other FIM properties apart from FoxSports.com.
It’s a deal worth $900m (£472m) – which is pretty sweet for Rupert because he paid $500 for MySpace. He’s kinda got his money back and some on that investment.
Perhaps what’s curious is that it means that Fox have agreed a ‘lump sum’ to sell their inventory space rather than work on a percentage basis. The specifics of the deal seem to suggest that certain targets have to be met, but that still implies there is a ceiling to the amount Fox will receive regardless of their hits.
Its bad news for Yahoo, as they provided advertising services to MySpace, and were thought to be competing against Google for the long term pan-FIM-network contact.
The Google deal also seems to suggest that other Fox/Google tie ups might be in the offing.
Peter Chernin, president of News Corp. was quoted as saying “We look forward to expanding our relationship into many new areas over years to come,”. Whether that means the sharing (read:selling) of technology or other services to Fox remains to be seen.
However I’m pretty sure FIM would welcome a technology partner as it continues to concentrate on being primarily a content and media play, rather than engineering power-house.
I certainly think it’s an interesting opportunity for Google. A proposition like MySpace is powerful because it is a database as much as it is a website. Google’s strengths are traditionally in spidering (flat) websites rather than relational database content – although of course there is a massive cross-over between the two approaches. It will be interesting to see whether relational database search functionality will be exposed to the user.
I also continue to wonder whether Murdoch will take Fox Interactive Media public as a way of raising more money to acquire new properties and perhaps get into the IP infrastructure business (like bSkyb is doing in the UK – perhaps as a test-bed).