Economy Biting Nintendo? Analyzing Nintendo’s Revised Unit Sales Forecasts

wii newsNintendo released its third quarter earnings this week (PDF).  Unit sales over the holiday period were great but having to convert overseas purchases from foreign currency to Yen wasn’t.   Profits took a hit.  It was all largely as expected.   Same as the last quarter, mostly. There was one surprise.   Unexpectedly, the company made a million unit downward revision on Wii unit sales projections for the full fiscal year and other adjustments to software expectations (DS Hardware was revised upwards). 

nintendo unit sales forecasts 2008The downward revision on the Wii ?  ….rewind…Holiday sales were record setting.  Just a few months ago, in October,  the company had upped sales projections for the year ending in March by a million units to 27.5m Wii units.   In August they’d increased forecasts as well. The growth was sufficient enough that it prompted the company’s president, Satoru Iwata to say in October it was “safe to say strong game demand is intact despite all the talk about the financial crisis.”

Now carving back the guidance to the prior number of 26.5 million units, even though a relatively small adjustment, begs the question of why.     

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New TV Channel Epix to Debut Online in May

epix launch plans metueLast April, in a surprise announcement, Lions Gate, Viacom (Paramount) and MGM announced plans to launch their own, then unnamed, premium cable channel and video on demand service.  Soon after, former Showtime executive Mark Greenberg took the helm and the joint venture, dubbed Studio 3 Networks, began to roll toward a planned Q4 2009 launch.

Little by little, details have trickled out about what’s planned.  In November, it was regulatory filings that revealed some of the initial cost data.  Last month, it was the brand name for the channel, Epix, discovered.  This month, it’s more info on launch plans.

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Bridge financing for Slacker

slacker bridgeAccording to a regulatory filing cited on Venture Wire, Slacker, a multi-channel digital music service, has taken an additional $5m in venture funding in a bridge financing from existing investors.

Since opening its doors and publicly launching its product in March of 2007, Slacker has now taken on a cumulative total of more than $58.5m in financing to build out its ambitious plans.

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Yahoo Q4 and Full Year Earnings

yahoo earns metueYahoo rolled into the Carol Bartz era about two weeks ago.  Today, the company closed the books on Jerry Yang’s brief executive stint with the release of Q4 earnings.   Buried under nearly $603m in one time charges, Yahoo came in with a loss of $303.4m. 

$108m in restructuring costs.  $488m in Goodwill Impairment from overseas.  $7m on the quarter in lingering expenses from defraying Microsoft’s takeover overtures.

It wasn’t the news that was expected, but looking past the one time elements, it wasn’t all bad either.  

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New York Times Co Settles Link Aggregation Lawsuit

copyright crosshair metueOn December 22nd, Gatehouse Media  filed suit against a Goliath charging the New York Times Co. with a host of copyright and trademark violations for practices at Times’ owned website and its affiliated properties.  At issue was’s aggregation and reprinting of headlines and their lead sentences (called “ledes”) from Gatehouse owned local news sites without Gatehouse’s approval.  The case was due to begin today with high stakes for the Internet news industry on the line. A settlement was announced instead.

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Netflix Sails Ahead: Q4 Earnings Beat Economy and Expectations

netfilx earnsMany companies are struggling through the economic environment with weak earnings or weak outlook.  Netflix, the mail-order DVD rental pioneer, is so far managing to sail through on smooth waters.  Confirming “strong results” previously hinted, the company announced fourth quarter and year end earnings today ahead of expectations.

Revenue for the fourth quarter was $359.6m, a 19% year over year gain and a 5% sequential improvement.  Earnings, at 38 cents a share, were up 65% year over year.    Analysts had expected EPS of 34 cents on revenues of $354m. 

Admitting the kind of mistake many are happy to accept, CFO Barry McCarthy said on the conference call,  “Our October forecast of slowing growth turned out to be wrong.”

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Eidos Shuts Small Studio, Others Making Cuts Too

eidosUK gamer Eidos is starting off 2009 on one crazy rollercoaster ride.

Two weeks ago, following poor U.S. holiday sales for its much anticipated new Tomb Raider title, the company laid off 30 employees and trimmed its forecast. Full-year sales were reset to fall between £160m and £180m, down from previous estimates of between £180m and £200m.

Last week, the company’s shares jumped after a revelation an approach was made with a preliminary takeover offer. The company emphasized “that discussions are at a very early stage and that there can be no assurance that an offer will be forthcoming."  Still, with takeover rumors lingering for months, an official statement was enough to cause a boost in trading. (A survey of potential Eidos buyers and a detailed corporate history is available here)

Now it’s just the third week in January and Eidos is back to trimming staff again. Click to Read More

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