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Amazon Bets on Gamer Website Twitch in $970 Million Deal

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Jeff Bezos is ramping up Amazon.com Inc.’s entertainment ambitions, buying video-game service Twitch Interactive Inc. in one of its biggest-ever acquisitions.

Amazon said it’s paying $970 million in cash for the online gathering place for gamers. The deal, which trumped Google Inc.’s pursuit of the startup, is worth about $1.1 billion when including retention-related payouts, said a person familiar with the deal, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

The acquisition gives the Web retailer an online forum of more than 55 million monthly active users, where people discuss games or watch others as they play. Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive officer, has made video games a focus of a strategy to add more entertainment services. The company operates a game studio in Seattle and has been luring software developers to build more video-game titles for its Fire TV set-top box, Fire Phone and Kindle Fire tablets.

“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,” Bezos said in a statement yesterday.

Bezos is spending on other media as well, including $100 million to produce TV shows to watch through Amazon’s Instant Video service, a music-streaming service and a book-subscription plan. Amazon also struck a deal with Time Warner Inc. to carry HBO shows.

Jennifer Lopez Drops “Booty” Remix With Iggy Azalea

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Jennifer-IggyAfter teasing new at the 2014 VMAs, Jennifer Lopez dropped the remix “Booty,” and it features Aussie sensation Iggy Azalea.

The American Idol judge, 45, tweeted a link to the song on AudioMack, along with the cover art for the single.

Tablet Gaming Expected to Exceed $13.3 Billion by 2019

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Worldwide revenue from tablet games is expected to more than triple by 2019 as mobile devices see improvements in graphics and storage capabilities and as more gamers seek the convenience of tablets over PCs, Juniper Research said.

Juniper predicted that revenue from tablet games will reach $13.3 billion, up from $3.6 billion this year. Juniper forecast that total mobile gaming revenue this year will be $20.9 billion.

More device makers are looking to gain from this trend by offering gaming-focused tablets, such as Nvidia‘s Shield Tablet, which was unveiled in June, and the Razer Edge, which was introduced last year.

Juniper argued that improved performance and graphics on tablet games is leading to a migration from traditional portable gaming devices, such as the PS Vita and Nintendo 3DS. Still, Juniper said it doesn’t believe that trend will lead to the end of the market for portable gaming devices, saying dedicated gaming hardware will continue to captivate a niche audience.

As broadband penetration grows and as mobile gaming becomes more commonplace, game developers will have to work harder to gain attention for their new offerings. Juniper said that in marketplaces containing over 1 million apps, independent game developers will need to raise more funding to advertise their games, with crowdfunding expected to become an increasingly popular option.

Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj – Bang Bang

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Google Tests New Music Ads

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Google.GreenGoogle is testing “Listen Now” ads with Spotify, Rhapsody and Apple’s Beats Music, the latest in a string of new ad formats that can simplify purchases for consumers.

Search for the name of a musical artist, from “The Beatles” to “Iggy Azalea” to “Eric Church,” and Google displays ads – grouped together under the “Listen Now” label — promoting music services, including its own Google Play.

The ads appear in searches on personal computers as well as mobile devices and are performing well for some advertisers, according to one person familiar with the results. Music services previously could have bought similar ads, but the grouping, display and labeling are new.

“We’re happy to help users quickly find legitimate sources for their favorite movies, music and more via Google search,” a Google spokesman said.

Two people familiar with the test described it as having started in the past few weeks. A Google spokesman confirmed that the music services pay for each click they get, the same way Google gets paid for its traditional text link ads.

Similar “Watch Now” ads that appear in searches for movies and TV shows were spotted by Search Engine Land in February.

Google is trying similar approaches with other new ads.

Searches for hotels bring up a box with photos, reviews and a widget where users can enter their travel dates. The widget includes “hotel price ads” that pass the dates directly to the site where users can complete a booking, potentially eliminating some steps.

Likewise, Google’s product listing ads display pictures and prices for an item before users click through to a retailer’s website.

Netflix CEO: We Surpassed HBO in Subscriber Revenue, Reached ‘Milestone’

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Netflix-CEO-Reed-HastingsWith 50 million streaming customers, Netflix now generates more revenue from subscriptions than its premium cable network rival HBO, according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

The streaming service reported $1.15 billion in subscriber revenue at the end of June, compared with $1.14 billion for HBO, Hastings said Wednesday on his Facebook page, calling the accomplishment a “minor milestone.”

“They still kick our ass in profits and Emmy’s, but we are making progress,” he added. “HBO rocks, and we are honored to be in the same league.”

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