YouTube’s on the iPhone. Now MySpace will be too, at least indirectly. As of today, MySpace, and soon most of its siblings at Fox Interactive Media, will be available in a specially formatted mobile offering formatted specifically for cellular use.
Unlike MySpace’s existing subscription based service which is offered on AT&T and Helio wireless services, the new mobile MySpace launching today will be free and ad supported. It will work on all U.S. carriers and any phone that has the ability to surf the Internet. Popular MySpace functionality, like the ability to send and receive messages and friend requests, or update blogs, or search for friends will all be supported.
Fox Interactive is taking its mobile initiative seriously. John Smelzer, a senior vice president at Fox Interactive believes "Accessing the Internet from your mobile phone will soon be as common as text messaging and voice calling."
Ads supporting the service will initially be sponsorships and clickable banners. Over time more targeted ads including geo-located ads that key off of cell phone GPS data, or that are tied to user registration data, will be rolled out.
While MySpace will lead the charge for Fox, over the next few months FoxSports, IGN, Photobucket and content from other Fox properties will eventually be available in mobile formats too. A mobile-accessible Wall Street Journal, or equivalent financial news service, aimed at mobile audiences and using assets acquired from Dow Jones isn’t an unrealistic possibility either.
As for competition, there will be a lot. Other social network services are aiming to capture the cell phone market too. Bluepulse recently closed a financing and relocated from Australia to Silicon Valley with the aim of being a leader in the space too. Their service, which uses a downloaded application rather than just extending content from one application to another, is generating near 100m monthly page views. For now, that probably won’t worry MySpace. The size of MySpace’s audience should provide an early advantage over both startups and other potential mobile content services that are not yet fully functioned or online; presuming the user experience offered is of good quality.
On a more macro scale, the move to bring MySpace features to mobile users could have additional consequences. Top of the list, it may spur an acceleration in competing services and likewise advance the creation of mobile specific content (Google/YouTube? Yahoo?) . A second possibility: this may encourage closer looks at some of the so called "microblogging" services like Twitter or Pownce. These little Web 2.0 services, while seeming more like feature offerings that viable businesses, could quickly become objects of desire for larger companies looking to rapidly acquire functionality that could expand a mobile offering.