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Earnings: NWS: Murdoch: MySpace Rocks, Facebook 'Similar To A Phone Book'

The News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) conference call is underway, with chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch giving his prepared rundown of the results for the quarter ending Sept. 30. He wants to be sure everyone knows just how global News Corp. is, with properties outside the U.S. responsible for just under 50 percent of consolidated revenues, and that the company’s multiple revenues streams provide some insulation when problems crop up in one area.

MySpace: Murdoch: It’s becoming much more than a social network. He talks up OpenSocial and the new ad programs announced this week. As for competition, “There’s been a lot of chatter lately” about MySpace’s ability to maintain leadership and to truly monetize its audience. “I’m more convinced than ever that any fear is misplaced. Just look at the numbers, nearly one in every four Americans is on MySpace. … 300,000 new users around the world join MySpace every single day.” Unique users grew in September, up nearly 23 percent since the same quarter in 2006. … What is changing is the marketplace. .. as it continues to mature there’s plenty of room for other platforms.” Murdoch said MySpace has to maintain a unique experience for users.

Advertising revenues were up 32 percent at MySpace over a year ago. He expects that to go higher now that HyperTargeting is rolling out. “We expect HyperTargeting to pick up momentum … Nobody else on the web is approaching this level of sophistication.” COO Peter Chernin added later that he also expects SelfServe, the new product for small businesses to create display ads, to deliver. Chernin said FIM started Q3 “a little bit behind” but has good momentum now: “Revenues are up 40 percent since July. Our revenues are up 15 percent just from September to October and we