November Video Game Sales Skyrocket

gameCheck the buzz-meters and the Nintendo Wii remains one of the most popular topics online.   Yesterday, net tracking firm Hitwise said searches online for the console increased 274% over just the prior week (week ending Dec 8.)  For November 1 to December 11, comScore, similarly put a high tab on ecommerce spending. Their estimate: $20b.  Video games, both consoles and software have been a big part of that.  NPD’s monthly report is out and the numbers are staggering.

Nintendo, as has been the case, reigns mightily from the throne of best seller.  The playability and fun factor of the Wii continue to outpace the high powered computing and awesome graphics of the Xbox 360 and PS3.  For November, Nintendo had their best month yet with sales nearly hitting one million consoles (981k); and demand continues to outpace supply. Click to Read More

Slacker Slacks: Portable Delayed Until January

slacker delayedJust a few weeks ago, hybrid Internet music service Slacker was riding high.  After months of talk, their much anticipated portable was finally ramping up for distribution.  Aimed at making portable music convenient, buzz was building. On their website, they were taking orders.  Shipment of the WiFi enabled net radio device was targeted for December 13.  About a week ago, that quietly changed.  

On December 6th,  popular Wall Street Journal tech writer, Walt Mossberg, published a review after testing two prototypes of the Slacker player.  He noted that while sound was good and the WiFi link worked, his two prototype test units were “hobbled by bugs and glitches.”   One unit often failed to connect to his account.  Both sometimes failed to wake up after going to sleep.

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Cisco EOS: Social Networking Platform Due in 2008

When networking giant Cisco acquired social network software developer Five Across last February it raised a few eyebrows.   Cisco is known for its hardware, the switches and routers that power the Internet behind the scenes and in our homes.  What they wanted with Web 2.0 software platforms was a curiosity.  Now, ten months later, their vision is still not well explained, but a few more facts have emerged.

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Venture Roundup: Recently Funded Startups

newly fundedSome years holiday presents come early, some late.  Over the past few weeks, a good handful of companies have gotten their gifts from venture capital firms.  From Red Room to Spotzer, MixerCast and Edgecast to and Kyte.TV, here’s the latest Venture Roundup: Metue’s regular recap of companies recently receiving funding.

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Bourne goes Vudu in HD

bourne vuduMovie distribution generally follows relatively strict calendar windows.  First releases go to the theaters, then, after a nice time lag, the DVD is issued.  From there, TV, pay per view, hotels, airlines and the rest of the mix get their shot.  Every now and then, the calendar gets thrown away for an experiment.  Vudu is the latest beneficiary.

Today, coinciding with the DVD release of the Bourne Ultimatum, set top box video on demand provider Vudu will be making the film available in a downloadable HD version.  The same day download breaks the calendar tradition and is characterized as a first of kind offering.

Much as it’s respected, the calendar for film distribution is not sacred.  Despite pressures from the theater industry which seeks to protect box office revenue through exclusivity, experiments do happen on occasion. Click to Read More

Big 4 Back imeem

behind imeemIt’s four in a row for imeem.  After settling a lawsuit signing a deal with Warner Music Group in July, the social music site has won over the rest of the Big 4 music labels. Sony BMG signed up in late September.  EMI inked paper at the end of October.  Now Universal Music Group has crossed over too.

Imeem is a free social networking service built around streaming digital music.  Unlike most music sites which build a library of content to then offer to their users, imeem works partly in the reverse.  Subscribers can upload music which is, in  turn, added to the catalog.  As a member of the site, you can create playlists, upload music, or listen to streams of music already in the catalog.  Members can also use embeddable code to add the stream of a chosen song to a blog posting or a personal webpage (including profiles on some social networks).

The hook for imeem is the songs are not available for download.  To hear the music, or watch equivalent video content, you must access it as a digital stream, either on the imeem site, or through embedded code elsewhere.  Click to Read More

Macrovision to buy Gemstar TV Guide: A look at possible strategy

macrovision gemstarIn July, Gemstar-TV Guide announced it was reviewing “strategic alternatives” including the possibility of selling the company.  Fast forward to December, they’ve now found their buyer.

Macrovision, the content protection and Digital Rights Management (DRM) company,  grabbed the bulk of Friday’s headlines and much of the stock market’s ire after announcing they’d pay $2.8b to acquire the once powerful TV Guide brand and Gemstar’s other properties.

The deal represents an approximate 29% premium of July share value for Gemstar and a 6% premium over Thursday’s closing price.

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