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News Corp.'s Miller: MySpace needs a culture shift

The once-dominant social network needs to find its way, News Corp. digital chief Jonathan Miller says. But the path back to glory is about spotting new trends, not playing catch-up.

News Corp. digital chief Jonathan Miller talks MySpace with Fortune's Jessi Hempel. Ina Fried/CNET

PASADENA, Calif.--News Corp. digital chief Jonathan Miller said Thursday that MySpace needs a culture shift that focuses on spotting changes in consumer behavior and adapting more quickly.

"One of the things about this medium is you have to continually develop product," Miller said, speaking at the Brainstorm: Tech conference here. "You can't just put something on the shelf."

For MySpace, that means focusing on doing a few things well. Asked about Rupert Murdoch's recent comments that MySpace should focus on entertainment, Miller said: "When you get involved in companies that need to regain their way, the key thing you have to find out is who are you really."

Entertainment is a big piece of who MySpace is, Miller said. "MySpace has, since its inception, has had meaningful impact in how culture and pop culture (specifically) has been defined."

Although MySpace has fallen behind, he said that the key is becoming quicker at spotting the trends just now emerging, rather than catching up in all the areas it has missed.

"You can't play catch-up or at least you can't do it very much," he said. To spot new trends, he said that the company needs small groups specialized on specific tasks, as opposed to a large, matrix-based organization.

On the publishing side of the business, Miller said News Corp. and indeed lots of the leaders in print and book publishing will start getting much more aggressive this fall.

"The business models have to be creative," Miller said. "You have to leverage the assets you have while they are still vibrant."