Courtship Over: EA and Take Two Part Ways

Talks OverThe takeover attempt was highly public.  From early February to late August, for more than six months, it grabbed headlines.  The private courtship that followed lasted less than a month.

On Sunday, Electronic Arts came out of a self imposed quiet period to announce their private discussions with Take Two were concluded.   At this time, EA said, the companies have decided not to pursue any merger.

Just two weeks ago, there was the slight prospect of otherwise.  Click to Read More

Slowdown or Hiccup? August Gaming NPD Report

npd game metueThe video game industry has been on fire.  For twenty seven months, a streak almost unfathomable in electronics retail, the U.S. marketplace returned double digit year over year percentage growth (via NPD).  Every month had yielded a more than 10% gross sales improvement, every month until now.  The August NPD retail report came out this week and it showed a surprise slowdown.  In August, the industry grew only 9% year over year in the U.S.  Many are questioning what happened and if it’s cause for concern.

Gaming is one of those entertainment industries that is often called “Recession Resistant.”  In tougher times, the theory goes, people need their escapism and fun more than ever.  Even as they watch their spending, they’ll pay for a  movie ticket, or a DVD, or a new game to suspend reality. But most anyone who has ever owned a water resistant watch will tell you, water resistance isn’t the same as waterproof.  If you take that watch down deep enough underwater, it will let the water in. Recession Resistant is the same thing. It’s a reasonable safety zone but not a guarantee.

That fact has some analysts asking: did the gaming industry finally spring a leak?

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Moving Vertical: Live Nations Increasingly Integrated Music Business

live nation bankSince being spun off from Clear Channel in 2005, Live Nation’s management has oriented the company toward a path of broad, vertical integration.  Instead of being just an event promoter, they’ve aimed to transform from a narrowly focused promotion business to a comprehensive music services company.  Non-essential (and non-music) assets have been divested.  Ticketing and fan membership services have been acquired.  People and assets have been shifted.  This week, two more steps were taken toward the fulfillment of those goals.

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Apples Fall Colors: New iPod Nano and upgraded Touch Revealed

new ipodsAs unpredictable as Apple can be, the marketing machine in Cupertino is also prone to keeping to a schedule. Since planting a flag claiming Tuesday’s as their own, every one since has been “iTunes Tuesday,”  Apple’s branded day for releasing new music.   Since 2005, Apple has also kept to a schedule with product upgrades.  On either the first Wednesday (2005 and 2007), or the second Tuesday (2006 and this year) in September, new iPod Nano’s are released.

Today, at the much hyped, and wildly anticipated Apple press event in San Francisco – Apple delivered on time.    As foreshadowed by early posters, and largely as predicted by the Apple -watching media:  Steve Jobs took the stage to reveal slate of evolutionary changes to the iPod lineup.

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Sharing Video: Whole House DVR Service from AT&T

Like many American households, I have more than one Television; one in the living room and one in the bedroom.  Also like many houses, I only have one DVR.  That creates an occasional nuisance.  I can’t crawl into bed and watch a show saved in the other room.  In the bedroom, where there’s only a standard set top box,  I’m stuck watching only scheduled broadcasts despite the library of stored programs I’ve accumulated.  As problems go, it’s a small one. Still, there’s a yearning for locally networked cable boxes, appliances that will let me pick and choose which "time shifted" programs I want to watch regardless of which room I’m in.   For AT&T customer’s – there’s now a real solution that makes that possible.

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Venture Report: $32m for Miniweb

miniweb financingAbout year and a half to two years ago, the big money was going into Internet video platform services.  One after another companies hoping to rival YouTube in content aggregation, or IPTV services dreaming of better content delivery, closed venture rounds in excess of ten and twenty million dollars.  Today, the hot zone for massive venture investment may be interactivity. 

In late August, San Mateo based Conviva secured $20m for their interactive live broadcast platform.    Today, UK based Miniweb announced the closing of a $32m round.

Miniweb was founded in 2007, the result of a management buyout (“MBO”) of select interactive assets from British TV service BskyB Click to Read More

IPTV Redux: Joost to Reinvent in the Browser?

JOOST RESTARTIf at first you don’t succeed, reinvent and try again.   That’s a mantra known at many an Internet startup.  And according to a new report, it looks like it applies to IPTV startup, Joost.

A couple of years ago, peer to peer IPTV (Internet Protocol TV) was all the rage.  There were content partnerships and huge eight figure financing’s.  High profile execs and even talent agents were hired.  “It’s the next new thing.”  “The TV of the Future” the headlines seemed to read.  Unfortunately there were cracks in an otherwise pretty facade and they’re now starting to show.  

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