News Corp. and SoftBank are each putting up 590 million yen — sounds a lot more impressive than the dollar equivalent of $5.09 million each — to fund MySpace KK, the companies announced today in Tokyo. AP reports that the JV will be run “mostly separately” from News Corp. Social networking isn’t huge in Japan yet; the largest site and biggest competition for MySpace KK is Mixi, with 5.7 million subs as of September. SoftBank is the largest shareholder in Yahoo Japan, which offers some social network sites.
Reuters: Softbank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son at the press conference: “Softbank will help add functions and services to MySpace that would meet the needs of Japanese users.” As previously reported, the service will be PC-based to start with mobile to follow.
Update: I have some more details on the JV from a source familiar with the set-up: The code, programming, etc. comes from MySpace. Softbank brings local knowledge, personnel, support, technical infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the NYT takes a look at MySpace’s international expansion and suggests that, despite the benefits of being part of a global corporation, going global may be tougher than expected. MySpace is already in Britain, Ireland, Australia, Germany and France. CEO Chris DeWolfe told the Times it will expand to 11 more countries in the coming year. Despite the difficulties with different online cultures and attitudes, social media expert danah boyd expects MySpace to benefit from its focus on music, which means brining in local bands. DeWolfe: “The idea behind internationalization is localization.” Also from DeWolfe: “Our goal is to be No. 1 in every market but we