Monday, February 15, 2010

Viacom: Never Heard of No Take Backs

After disappointing sales from The Beatles: Rock Band, and from Harmonix products in general, Viacom is filing with the SEC to have some of an "earn-out" bonus paid out to its subsidiary Harmonix at the end of 2008 returned to it. The LA Times Articlegoes into further detail on Viacom's claim. However there are a few quotes that I think are worth highlighting.

"In a research note, media analyst Michael Nathanson of Bernstein Research estimated that the "current trend" of losses for Rock Band has been between $50 million and $100 million per year." - since when does 3 years (since the 2006 release of the original guitar hero) constitute enough data for a trend?

and

"Activision said it would release just 10 versions of its music games this year, down from 29 in 2009." and "Mike Griffith, head of Activision’s publishing business, summed it up during a conference call with investors by saying, 'In 2010 we’re anticipating further declines in the music genre overall as the casual consumer proves less robust.' "- just 10? What IP do you know that considers 10 releases a year staggering them? Even considering the multiple sub-titles (Guitar Hero/Band Hero/DJ Hero) thats still at least 3 titles in this next year. Maybe its not the casual nature of your consumers that is proving less robust. Maybe its the fact that you're over-saturating the market.

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