Services & Software

MySpace eyes Flixster for acquisition

After snapping up music start-ups Imeem and iLike, MySpace has apparently turned its attentions toward Flixster, a popular social-networking site for movies.

Now that the digital equivalent of a super-vac, MySpace CEO Owen Van Natta, has sucked up some decent music start-ups--Imeem and iLike--for a song, to bolster the social-networking site's efforts to expand into an entertainment portal, what's next?

According to several sources, the News Corp. unit has turned its omnivorous attentions on Flixster, the popular social-networking site for movies.

Sources said such a deal is not immediately imminent, but that MySpace has been conducting extensive due diligence on the San Francisco-based Flixster, part of a plan to combine it with Rotten Tomatoes, another News Corp.-owned site run by its IGN Entertainment division.

Rotten Tomatoes features mostly premium content, including professional reviews, trailer videos, and news. It has community feature that is just in beta, so it would be a nice fit with Flixster.

How much MySpace would be willing to pay for Flixster is unclear. A MySpace spokeswoman declined to comment at the moment.

In 2007, the start-up was close to being acquired by IAC/InteractiveCorp for $100 million, several sources said. But the deal went south when CEO Barry Diller changed his mind at the last minute.

Founded in 2006 by CEO Joe Greenstein and CTO Saran Chari, Flixster has raised $7 million in funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Pinnacle Ventures, as well as garnering an angel investment from Silicon Valley entrepreneur and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

It has garnered a huge audience--upwards of 50 million--who trade all kinds of recommendations, ratings, news, and even post user-generated movie reviews on its Web site and via widgets on social-networking sites, most of all on Facebook.

While Amazon unit IMDb is still larger in terms of traffic, the more innovative Flixster has been growing much faster and is more social, which makes it attractive to MySpace, sources said.

More important is the mobile growth. Flixster is the No. 1 movie app on Apple's iPhone and leads on other smartphones too.