Amazon acquires video game streaming site Twitch for $970 million
New York — Amazon.com announced Monday that it had agreed to acquire video game streaming site Twitch for $970 million in cash.
The deal comes after reports that Google was set to acquire the streaming site.
Twitch is a video platform that streams content geared toward gamers, including live gaming footage, commentary, and online shows. The company said Monday it counts more than 1.1 million unique broadcasters per month, up from 600,000 in November last year. Their videos are reaching more than 55 million gamers, up from 45 million before. On average, Twitch said, users watch 106 minutes per day.
“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month— — from The International, to breaking the world record for Mario, to gaming conferences like E3," Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said in a press release.
Twitch was launched in June 2011 by Justin.tv co-founders Justin Kan and Emmett Shear. In addition to its live streaming, videos on the site can also be streamed on Microsoft Xbox and PlayStation 4 consoles.
"Amazon and Twitch optimize for our customers first and are both believers in the future of gaming," Shear said in a statement. "Being part of Amazon will let us do even more for our community. We will be able to create tools and services faster than we could have independently. This change will mean great things for our community, and will let us bring Twitch to even more people around the world."
Walmart launching chip-enabled store-brand MasterCard
New York — Walmart announced in a post on its corporate blog that its store-brand MasterCard holders can expect to receive a new chip-enabled card in the "next few weeks." The discounter said it is among the first retailers to implement chip technology as a more secure payment means for cardholders. It also noted in the post that Sam’s CLub introduced a chip-enabled MasterCard in June. Both cards prompt customers not to swipe – but to insert and briefly leave the card in the payment terminal, so the card’s embedded chip can be accessed.
Walmart installed EMV-capable terminals in stores about eight years ago. The terminals are now activated in more than 4,600 stores, including all Sam’s Club locations. Terminals in the remaining U.S. stores will be activated before the end of the year.
"When the cards are used at chip-enabled terminals, the enhanced security features used for authorization help confirm that the card being presented is authentic and make itmore difficult to duplicate, increasing protection against counterfeit fraud. The new cobranded card can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted around the world," wrote Mike Cook, Walmart’s senior VP of finance and assistant treasurer, and Chris McWilton, MasterCard’s president of North America, in the blog posting.
In another new feature of the Walmart co-branded MasterCard, cardholders will receive $5 back on every $500 they spend. They’ll also save 5 cents per gallon of gas at participating Walmart gas stations and 15 cents during Walmart’s “Great Gas Rollback” promotion running now through Sept. 8.
SAP: Start back-to-school promos later, focus online
Walldorf, Germany – Retailers should consider waiting until August to launch back-to-school promotions and focus them heavily on online shoppers. According to new data from SAP, consumer sentiment toward back-to-school advertising doesn’t become positive till the end of July.
Sentiment hangs lower than negative 20% before July and only shows a positive margin after Aug. 1. And while running a commercial provides little value, deals and sales receive positive sentiment year-round. SAP’s research actually suggests retailers should time promotions to match the buying season of certain products. For example, apparel, supplies, and electronics, all goods associated with back-to-school, sell better in August.
In addition, in 2014, 50% of shoppers purchased back-to-school items online. This marks a 13% increase from 2013 to present. If the trend continues, online shopping is set to outpace in-store back-to-school shopping in 2015.