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The Coexistence of MySpace and Facebook

Nielsen//NetRatings announced that among those aged 12-17, visitors to both MySpace and Facebook spend more time at each site than those teens who visit just one or the other.

In August, teens who visited both sites spent on average 20 percent more time on MySpace than MySpace visitors alone. Facebook benefited to an even greater degree from dual visitors, who spent on average 26 percent longer at the site than exclusive Facebook visitors.

"Teens who enjoy social media are intensive users and highly engaged. They are venturing onto multiple networks to experience new features and broaden their connections," said Jason Lee, media analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings. "This demographic is typically drawn to what's new, and since they are growing up online, they are not afraid of learning the latest Web technologies."

Since Facebook's registration was opened to the public last year, the site has seen triple digit traffic growth, increasing 117 percent from 8.9 million unique visitors in August 2006 to 19.2 million unique visitors in August 2007. The growth rate among visitors 12-17 has been even higher, increasing 122 percent year over year.

The majority of these new Facebook visitors are not likely social networking novices -- more than 80 percent of Facebook visitors in August also went to MySpace.

"MySpace introduced a lot of people -- especially young people -- to social networking, and that forum continues to be overwhelmingly popular," said Lee. "But Facebook's innovative features, many born out of partnerships with third party developers, are driving user growth. Teens continue to interact with friends on MySpace, but have not hesitated to follow their peers to the latest social networking brand. At this point, each site has a unique offering, and teens are happily visiting both."

I believe that this latest market study sheds light on the potential for a peaceful coexistence between MySpace and Facebook. Meaning, it isn't a foregone conclusion that an increase in visitor traffic to one site is at the expense of the other.

However, perhaps the more troubling question remains unanswered -- what's the long-term impact on the broadcast network television business model, and their associated advertising revenue?

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