Take Two Interactive: Earnings and Forecast

T2 earningsYesterday after the close of market video game publisher Take Two Interactive (NASDAQ: TTWO) reported their 3rd quarter financial results.

The New York company has had a rough year.  Not only have they been embattled and burdened by investigations into their options practices but in early August they announced they their premier game, Grand Theft Auto, would miss its October launch (and the holiday shopping season).  The game’s arrival was pushed back into 2008.  Also, in March, shareholders revolted and booted board members and management.  This quarter’s earnings may be the first sign things may be improving.  Buoyed in part by the sale of their game based on the Fantastic Four movie franchise they beat expectations.

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MyDamnChannel Syndication and Second Look

mydamnchannelIn late July, just as HBO’s ThisJustIn video channel was getting canceled, another Internet video studio and distribution channel was coming online in Hollywood.  Rob Barnett, a former exec at CBS radio who also did time at  MTV and VH1, launched MyDamnChannel with creative assistance from entertainment industry veterans Don Was, Harry Shearer and David Wain.  (A detailed Metue profile of the original launch can be found here)

From the start, like Vuguru and 60 Frames Entertainment, the company’s aim was to create original professional quality content for syndication around the net.  Unlike those competitors, their plans included the launch of a distribution site of  their own.  Taking a multi-pronged approach, MyDamnChannel syndicated their videos on a YouTube channel and  also provided embed codes to allow viewers to link or include the videos on their own sites while they were actively looking for syndication partnerships.  Now, a little more than a month later, they’ve found their second partner in a deal with MySpace.

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Warner Brothers TV throwing Weight into Internet Specific Content

wb onlineJoining a host of production houses from startups to media powerhouses, Warner Brothers will release a wide offering of original video programming for Internet distribution.

The new programming, expected to be revealed today in greater detail, reverses an initial strategy that aimed to offload production costs onto advertisers.  Instead, as part of revitalized web strategy that includes a television spin off of their site TMZ.com and a planned animation-only video portal (called T-Works) , Warner is planning  to spend at least $3m for web production. 

The slate of content will include at least 24 productions in formats ranging from games and serials to short films. Click to Read More

News Corp and Dow Jones: Inside the Deal

merger detailsWith much of the drama largely over and the merger going ahead, a few days ago Dow Jones and News Corp filed preliminary documents outlining the merger of the two companies.  The filings, which are required under securities law, are extensive in length, “preliminary” in form and heavy on legalese, but they  provide an incredibly detailed window in to the events leading up to the merger announcement as well as the terms eventually agreed on. 

The documents show, behind the scenes the soap opera characterized in the board room barely scratched the surface of the true level of corporate intrigue. Click to Read More

iTunes Rent–Flix? 4 Points on Movie Rentals from Apple

Next to the Beatles, the most common iTunes rumor has got to be movie rentals.  From the day the first video iPod appeared there has been speculation about it. Now, there is actually evidence beyond “unnamed sources” to suggest it may be a reality soon.

itunes rentalsThe most definitive proof a rental service may be in the works was accidentally discovered this weekend by a user trying to report a problem with iTunes.  David Watanabe published a screenshot on photo sharing site Flickr that showed an iTunes drop down menu of subject headings that included a rental subsection.  According the reports spreading virally around the net, the image, which explicitly references rentals, was taken from live iTunes installations and confirmed by other users as well.  It has since been removed. (Note: Click the image at right to launch a higher resolution version)

The idea of an iTunes rental store, and its impending arrival, has been widely reported and speculated on for the better part of two years.  As recently as this past June, the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal reported Apple was in talks with several movie studios to offer rentals at a price of $2.99.  They reported Paramount (owned by Viacom) was in favor of such a service but GE’s Universal Studios was opposed.  Speculation has been rampant enough that some were betting the rental store was going to be revealed at last weeks press conference.

While last week wasn’t the time, four factors beyond this recent development add to the likelihood its finally on its way.

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Multiply fetches $16 million

multiplyAdd social network Multiply to the list of well funded.  The company founded in 2003, which is focused on older users and those looking for a more closed environment to interact with those they already know rather than as a playground for making new contacts, pulled in $16m in a Series B Financing.   

The round was led by VantagePoint Venture Partners.  Point Judith Capital and previous Series A investors TransCosmos Investments also participated.

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Digital Library: Publishing Round Up

digital librarySometimes things happen in threes; at least that is the superstition.  Yesterday was literary triplicate.  In three unrelated announcements, the book publishing world saw an acquisition, a product introduction and a website makeover.

On the merger front, in the niche of author driven self-publishing services, Author House acquired rival iUniverse for undisclosed terms.  Both companies, which compete against Amazon (via its Book Surge Division), Lulu and smaller services like Blurb, provide a range of services for handling book design, layout, printing and post-print marketing.

In the remodeling realm, Google (which along with Amazon and Microsoft has been racing to scan and archive books for some time now) introduced Click to Read More

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