In the past one year, Viacom has acquired Quizilla, Harmonix Music Systems, Atom Entertainment, Xfire, and Y2M: Youth Media & Marketing Networks. These acquisitions are strategic and fit well into the Company’s overall theme of youth focused entertainment.
Viacom, through its Nick brand, is popular among the kids. Presumably, the Company would acquire more kids focused properties.
One that I really like is Stardoll, a site where girls 9-17 play with paper-doll dress-ups. It has 10 Million registered users, according to Comscore, and its investors include Sequoia Capital and Index Ventures. Advertisers include major fashion brands like Donna Karan, LVMH and Sephora. Now, that’s quite an achievement, and its highly targeted audience and absolute community engagement would do wonders for Viacom.
The natural organizing principle for Viacom, of course, is music. The Company could consider acquiring companies like Songbird, MyStrands, MOG, Slacker, Amie Street, etc. MyStrands is a music discovery platform and recommendation site. The site recently raised $25 million in its second round of venture capital financing.
In October 2006, Songbird, a San Francisco-based start-up with a smart music player that searches and plays music raised about $1 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and Atlas Ventures. MOG has raised $1.41 million in first round of funding from a group of angel investors. These are experiments to watch.
The other place that Viacom needs to watch is the myriad Facebook music widgets. I bet, some of those are ripe for picking.
Viacom could also consider acquisitions in the teen-focused social networking space. The possible acquisition targets could be Xanga, hi5, Tagged, TeenSpot, and Piczo. A large social networking site will allow it to leverage its teen / young adults client base, strong music and movie portfolio to build a large community online a la MySpace and Facebook. Of course, it would also then need a photo / video storing and sharing offering to monetize that site, taking a chapter out of the MySpace-Photobucket play book.
Other acquisitions would likely come from the virtual world space or the online gaming space.