Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Viacom Gets Into Social Games: When Do We See JerseyShoreville?

Viacom wants in on the social game market, and it’s going to try buying its way in. The company has picked up Social Express, a 10-person start-up founded in 2009, so it can build out games based on shows that run on its MTV Networks unit. VentureBeat, which reported the deal, doesn’t have terms.

So, maybe a “Jersey Shore” game, where you get badges for visiting the gym, the tanning salon or the Laundromat? I dunno. Work with me here.

Every big media company is enamored with social games these days, in part because users seem to be–see Zynga–and in part because investors seem to be– see Zynga. Not coincidentally, Social Express is staffed with vets from Zynga, the dominant social game company now valued in the billions.

Wait a minute. Doesn’t Viacom (VIA) have a slew of gaming assets, acquired during the last Web boom? It does! And those help generate 22 million unique visitors a month, says comScore (SCOR). But the first Viacom/Social Express games will show up this fall, so we’ll see what Sumner Redstone got for his money.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald