Adsense for Games? Experimental or Coming Soon?

adsense gamesMention in-game advertising to video game fanatics and you’re likely to get one of two responses. The first will be bitter complaints that lament the scourge cluttering their virtual worlds.  The other will be an uneasy acceptance that harbors hope the included ads will somehow make future games more affordable or more realistic.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, however, in-game ads are here to stay.

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Earnings Round Up: Dreamworks, EA, Sony and Viacom

earnings watchEarnings season is always a busy time in the corporate finance world but for those watching the media and entertainment sectors, Tuesday was a day of particular information overload.  DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Sony and Viacom all reported quarterly results.  The news was mixed. There were some bright spots and some unpleasant surprises too.  One by one we’ve got the four consolidated into one place; a single stop to summarize all four quarterly performances.

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Applevine: Macbook Getting Facelift?

applevineDuring Apple’s July 2007 earnings call, the company gave guidance that fell short of some expectations. The explanation was a then-unexplained product shift that turned out to be the introduction of new iPods.   Flash forward a year to last week and Apple’s July 2008 earnings call was a deja vu like repetition: Apple turned in a strong performance but guided  weaker than some expected due to  another ambiguous product transition.  The mystery is cranking up the Applevine.  The latest round of explanatory rumors are starting to circulate.

One popular theory guesses these changes will apply to the Macbook notebook line.  Click to Read More

Cash for Casual Games: $29m for Zynga

zynga“Casual Games,” the buzzword and category for titles that are easy to approach, fast to learn, and playable regardless of skill level remains the hot zone for gaming investment.  Today, news broke that San Francisco based Zynga, makers of casual games for social networks, closed a staggering $29m series B financing.

Founded in part by Tribe founder Mark Pincus, Zynga’s  titles include card games like poker and blackjack along with reinterpretations of board and word games.  According to the company, 55million people are registered and growth is estimated as high as 450k new players a day.    On a monthly basis, they say, more than 18million people are playing the titles on social networks including Facebook, Bebo, Friendster and Meebo. 

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Yahoo and Icahn Settle: Questions Linger

settled proxy fightLawyers rarely take tort law cases to trial.  By some measures more than 90% of these cases are settled outside of judge or jury. According to the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, of 98k such cases in 2002 and 2003, only 2% were decided at trial.  The rationale is that it is usually safer and less expensive to settle with a sure thing than risk the uncertainty and cost of trial.   Apparently, proxy fights with activist shareholders share that in common.  Despite increasing momentum, and the recent pledged support of a major shareholder, Yahoo today agreed to settle their proxy fight for board control with Carl Icahn.

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Google Q2 Earnings: A Cloud but No Storm

googIntel kicked off the technology earnings season with positive surprises earlier this week but Thursday, the keg seemed to run dry early at the party and things turned grim.  Google and Microsoft both released earnings and neither company satisfied the appetites of a nervous market.   The initial reaction was to buckle the seat belt and grab on, the ride looked like it was about to get rough; and in fact it did.  Google’s news led to a more than 10% sell off in after-hours trading.  The bright side: Google’s news wasn’t really bad.  The selloff, or at least the rationale for it, appears to have been premature.

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Amazon on Demand: New Video Service Enters Beta

amzn on demandEveryone’s doing it.  It’s the new, old thing.  There’s Apple and Microsoft, Netflix and Amazon, there’s TiVo, Roku, Sony, Sezmi (formerly Building B), Vudu and more.    They’re all bringing some form of video on-demand services over the Internet; rentals and purchases, some even free.  It’s the promise of TV and movies as you like it, when you like it.  Thursday, Amazon became the latest entry into the crowded market.  Technically, though, it’s a re-entry.  

Since 2006, Amazon has offered a video on demand service called Unbox. Click to Read More