ITV’s failure to make Friends Reunited in to a successful social network has been plain to see since its acquisition in 2005. But the extent of the failure will be spelled out when the broadcaster, in a year-end review of previous acquisitions, concludes the outfit it now worth less than the total £175 million it paid for the site, Times Online reports without citation. No word on the new valuation.
Friends Reunited had a big head start on the modern social network phenomenon so should really have maintained its commanding advantage despite the rise of MySpace, MySpace, Bebo et al. Despite their emergence, Friends Reunited has been ITV’s online cash cow, pulling in two thirds of web revenue (£22 million in 2007) while ITV.com has struggled to make money. But Friends’ audience halved from 4.3 million to 2.4 million between March 2007 and March 2008, according to comScore (NSDQ: SCOR). The site last year dropped those all-important premium subscriptions in favour of ad support, and now ITV.com is starting to motor, but the sites now find themselves in the middle of an advertising downturn.