Wednesday, March 04, 2009

For Sale - Friends Reunited

Broadcaster ITV is to let 600 jobs go and are looking to sell its Friends Reunited and Scoot websites. Chairman Michael Grade is widely reported saying that “Current conditions in the advertising market are the most challenging I have experienced in over 30 years in UK broadcasting’

ITV bought Friends Reunited in 2005 for £120m and it was one of the original social network sites linking old school friends and soon extending this to workmates etc. The site may have been at the forefront but was quickly superseded by the likes of MySpace and Facebook and only generated £10million in revenue last year down a cool £1million over the previous year.

Some suggested that the Facebook acquisition was a brave move at the time and at a high cost. Irrespective of the advertising downturn many would argue that Friends Reunited had lost its way and appeal. It clearly went commercial and lost its social appeal for many. Although it makes claims to millions of members it would be interesting to see its churn and active membership. It would be interesting to see who would buy it, at what cost and with what plans.

Now ITV has cleared its decks, we await the next announcements from another UK broadcaster later this week.

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