NBC Cuts Quarterlife: No Success Migrating from Online to TV

quarterlife nbcEven though a handful of successful TV shows found their beginnings as short form serials (the Lone Ranger and the Simpson’s, to name a pair), the road to prime time television is rarely without potholes and stalling traffic.   As the old maxim goes, fame or success is “a fickle food – Upon a shifting plate.”  As net video program Quarterlife is finding out, that’s as true now as ever.

Quarterlife, a high concept Internet series about a group of twenty something artists coming of age in a digital world was expected to handle the transition to TV well.  Because the show was conceived with six one-hour story arcs, translation of formats seemed easy.  Click to Read More

Stage 9 Digital Media: Disney Launches New Online Studio

stage 9 internet videoDisney earnings were solid earlier this month, and their online performance has been sound too but that isn’t stopping them from shifting and tweaking their Internet approach.  The changes started with the purchase of Club Penguin in August.   In November they made moves to strengthen their M&A practice.  About ten days ago, they revealed Disney Online Studios – a new organization to focus on casual games and online social networks.  Now, it’s online video getting a makeover.

In a launch story fed to the LA Times, Disney revealed their latest group: Stage 9 Digital Media.  The group is an in house studio focused on developing original short form Internet programming for syndication on both Disney and 3rd party sites.   The first show from the studio is called Squeegees.  Debuting today, it’s a comedy about window washing slackers.  It will be distributed in ten episodes on ABC.Com and on YouTube.  20 other programs are also in development.

The idea for Stage 9 follows the lead of other Hollywood elite, including former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, and others, who are applying their talents and skill to online content creation. Click to Read More

Down Economy Boosting Netflix: Guidance Adjusted

Wednesday at Jeffries annual Internet Conference, Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy delivered the most unusual of things for this earnings season: a positive announcement.  On the back of a $100m stock buyout program, and decreasing competition from Blockbuster, Netflix raised their prior earnings guidance.

In his report, McCarthy said the company is now expecting first quarter earnings of 15 to 22 cents a share, up from prior forecasts that fell in the 13 to 21 cent range. Click to Read More

By the Numbers: Recent Stats in Perspective

numbers and statsStatistics and comparative numbers hit the airwaves and headlines of business news every day.  “The price represents a 39% premium over the prior day’s close.” “Total U.S. gaming sales were up 18% over the same period in the prior year”  EBITDA. Market Share.  Off. On.  Positive. Negative.   Today’s grabber was an announcement from retail tracking firm NPD that Apple surpassed Best Buy to become the number two music retailer (offline and on) in the U.S.

Boiled down, it seems there is a number to tell any story, or as often, support any argument.   But what might these digits look like in perspective?   Outside the microcosm of tech, or media tech, what do some of the statistics translate to?

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Hellman Friedman to Privatize Getty Images for $2.1b

getty images soldIn less than two years, San Francisco private equity firm Hellman Friedman turned a $1.1b investment in advertising network DoubleClick into a $3.1b windfall.  Now they will set out to try and wring a similar result out of the struggling financials but solid intellectual property of stock photo and content licensor Getty Images.

The $2.1b buyout deal ($2.4b with the assumption of debt) was announced Monday.  It effectively closes a month long auction process in which Getty, beaten and battered in the markets, was seeking bailout assistance from a deep pocketed suitor.

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Social News Site Mixx Raises $2m

mixx series bThanks to popular websites like Digg, Propeller (rebranded from Netscape in September) and Reddit, the idea of crowd-sourced, user submitted, news sites have become a staple of the “Web 2.0” Internet-era.   Mixx, a later entrant to the market that launched in October, has reportedly just closed a $2m financing led by prior investor Intersouth Partners.

It’s unclear if the round is formally a Series B or an extension of their prior A round financing.

Mixx is based out of Maclean, Virginia.  It was founded by Chris McGill, the former General Manager of Yahoo News and former VP of Strategy for USA Today.   They initially raised $1.5m from Intersouth.   A small equity investment was also sold to the LA Times as part of a larger syndication and partnership struck in early December.

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EA Makes $2b Bid for Take Two: Grand Theft? or Fair Price?

erts ttwoAbout a week ago, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello acknowledged many of EA’s past merger efforts proved disappointments.  The post merger integration process, and EA’s style at the time, simply didn’t accommodate the needs of incoming creative talent.  Effectively, the company ended up buying existing game titles but doing a poor job of leveraging the human capital behind them to build for the future.  Now, about 7 months after restructuring the company and creating an organizational hierarchy designed to better balance creative development and fiscal accountability, EA is setting out to prove they can acquire assets without stiffling (and losing) their creative game development talent.

The first test of the new approach began several months ago with the acquisition of Bioware and Pandemic.  The second test began to take shape today.

In a press release, EA made public a proposal to buy struggling game developer Take Two Interactive for approximately $2b in cash. Click to Read More

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