Playfirst and Vuze Close Series C Financings

vuze playfirstEmployees at San Francisco based PlayFirst and Palo Alto based Vuze  should all enter the holiday period smiling and reassured.  Wednesday, both the Casual Gamer and IPTV startups closed substantial Series C Financings.

For PlayFirst, the deal brought $16.5m of holiday cheer.  DCM led the round and existing investors including Mayfield Fund, Trinity Ventures and Rustic Canyon Partners also participated.   Including prior rounds, the new investment brings the cumulative investment in PlayFirst to $26.5m

PlayFirst was founded in 2004.   They were one of the first gaming companies Click to Read More

Viacom Shuns DoubleClick, Embraces Microsoft

msft viacom ad pactThe last days of Viacom’s advertising partnership with DoubleClick were long ago foretold.  With Viacom still feuding with Google over YouTube and copyrights, and with Google’s purchase of DoubleClick likely nearing the end of regulatory review, it was just a matter of time.  Wednesday the hammer dropped and Viacom pledged its allegiance to Microsoft.

In a five year deal worth at least $500m in exchanged value, Microsoft and the media giant behind MTV Networks, Nickelodeon and Paramount pictures reached a complex advertising and content distribution deal.

Under the pact, Microsoft will license Viacom content (non-exclusively) for use on both Microsoft web properties and for the Xbox 360.

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Brightcove Lands IAC

In November 2005, Internet video syndication and platform service operator Brightcove closed a $16.2m Series B Financing round. Interactive Corp, which counts Ticketmaster, Citysearch and Ask among its properties was one of the lead investors. As part of the transaction, IAC’s CEO Barry Diller joined the board of directors. Now a few years have passed and the companies have decided to get more involved with each other.

Under a deal announced today, Brightcove will provide tools for publishing video content to web, managing video syndication and integrating advertising too all IAC businesses. Financial terms were not disclosed.

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NFL and Ticketmaster: Jointly Chasing Stubhub and Scalper

NFL TicketmasterScore one for Ticketmaster.  In the ongoing battle to gain footing in secondary ticket markets, Ticketmaster has inked a high profile deal with the NFL to handle league sponsored resales.

The new service, named the NFL Ticket Exchange, will be hosted by Ticketmaster (Interactive Corp) and accessible from NFL licensed websites including  The site will go live in time for the 2008 season.  Both the NFL and Ticketmaster will jointly promote and market the offering.

Ticketmaster already hosted ticket exchange services for 18 of the 32 teams in the NFL.  The newly signed deal will expand the reach to the entire league.

Ticketmaster’s strategy of securing tickets by partnership follows a similar effort employed by more established secondary sellers Stubhub Click to Read More

NBA and PBS Go Joost

joost pbs nbaFew new technologies have generated more PR and press coverage during periods of the past year than IPTV: peer to peer television broadcast over the net. Companies like Joost have billed themselves as TV’s future. Joost’s raised huge pools of funding, recruited a high profile CEO, even partnered with talent agency Creative Artists . Then they went quiet. Not much has been said about Joost in a while. Yesterday, they captured a few new headlines with the announcement of a partnership with the NBA. Today, they added PBS. Joost is back in the spotlight.

In partnering with the NBA, Joost will launch a channel showing current and classic NBA highlights on the Joost platform. The web distribution channel will be similar to other programming the NBA makes available via digital media, including offerings on YouTube and MySpace.

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Live Gamer: Trading Platform for a Virtual World

live gamerIt can takes hours or days or even weeks of dedicated play to reach milestones in the virtual worlds of online gaming.  A player addicted to World of Warcraft might search aimlessly to find a tool or special weapon.  To help, there are online forums: tips and suggestions, even auctions within the game itself.   There’s also a less savory choice. A black-market of sorts has arisen where players and fans can sell and trade already established accounts, or in some games, the in-game components that move a character. It’s real money paying for virtual, cash in exchange for time saved.

Live Gamer, a New York based startup is aiming to add legitimacy and security to these kinds of trades.  They estimate the market represents $1.8b in real money exchanged.  Their solution, which was announced today, is to offer a publisher supported platform for “real money trading of virtual property.” 

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DirecTV buys ReplayTV out of DVR Deadpool

directv replaytv imageThere are always some who’ll hang on by a thread and look for a battle no matter the circumstance or how long the odds.  ReplayTV, once proud and promising rival of TiVo, fits that billing.   The company was first to market with a Digital Video Recorder.   They helped pioneer the DVR market in the late 90s and then found themselves virtually sued out of existence. Now they’re changing owners, again.  Satellite TV leader DirecTV will buy ReplayTV from D&M Holdings for undisclosed terms.

Founded in 1997, Replay was once a high flying star in the DVR market.  Sonic Blue bought the company in 2001 for $125m.  It then found itself in court, battling Hollywood over ad skipping functionality.  The protracted battle sent Sonic Blue in to bankruptcy.

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