Business Week speculates on Shanda's (SNDA) future

by: Ezra Marbach

Here are key points and quotes from an article in the latest issue of BW about online gaming, and potential Shanda (ticker: SNDA) combinations:

Key points from article:

  • Major worldwide gaming boom.
  • Increasing convergence of video games and movies.
  • Game developers are
    licensing and using movie characters and titles to produce hit games, and studios are
    increasingly turning successful games into hit movies.
  • As broadcast TV
    audiences dwindle and movie-going stagnates, gaming is emerging as the
    newest and perhaps strongest pillar of the media world.


  • The smartest strategy is for game developers and media companies / film studios to find partners.
  • While the media companies desperately need the game companies, even the strongest game makers are looking to Hollywood for its movie and TV properties.
  • In the end, the winners will be those with the best and broadest portfolios of properties and alliances.

Speculation on gaming and media companies that would benefit from future partnerships:

"EA (Electronic Arts) is a champ, for sure, thanks to its name-brand games and its ability to play well with others, such as Paramount and ESPN. Sony has the advantage of being the only company with a console, games, and movies, and it makes money leveraging those businesses against each other. And among the media giants, Viacom is an early favorite because of its scope and track record of capitalizing on radical shifts -- think MTV. Possible wild cards: China's Shanda and Korea's NCsoft Ltd. could extend their early leads as online pioneers in Asia and become global powers. Two big names most at risk are the powerhouses of family-friendly entertainment, Nintendo and Walt Disney Co. (ticker: DIS) Both were slow to address the shift to older audiences."

Quick thought: Shanda partnering with a Western media company or film studio? Unlikely. Shanda doesnt seem to be starving for content for games. It seems to be doing just fine with creative MMORPGs, and casual games. This will probably change as they begin to develop games internally as opposed to licensing from abroad. Of course, some of Shanda's online games are so popular that movies based on them could reap huge profits sooner than we think.

However with Western media companies moving in, the Chinese will be increasingly exposed to Western television and films. Maybe then will such a combination make sense.

As always, I welcome your comments.