, distributed by Midway Games
L.A. Rush is a racing game full of adrenaline-pumping crashes, jumps, concept cars -- and plenty of synergy with its TV parent. The music video network will use its franchise power to vigorously promote the game. That's no surprise, since Viacom Chairman and CEO Sumner Redstone also owns a large majority interest in Midway (partly through his holding company, National Amusements). While I wouldn't compare Midway's brand equity to that of Activision
The MTV connection gives the company an ideal chance to increase its profile and impact. I've seen promos for a game-related special, which will air this weekend during the channel's "Sunday Stew" block of programming, and a sweepstakes run by MTV and sister channel MTV2. This cross-promotion could help L.A. Rush drive a lot of holiday revenues in Midway's direction. And MTV is the perfect vehicle to grab the pop-culture-loving teenage male demographic that this game needs to be a success.
When Viacom splits, I think the part containing MTV will be the more interesting stock investment, since cable has compelling growth prospects. For video game investing, I personally prefer Activision or Electronic Arts over Midway; they've got blue-chip status in this sector and much better fundamentals (see the Fool's data on Midway). In addition, Midway's stock has already had a big run over the last year -- arguably due to Mr. Redstone's purchases, since the fundamentals just aren't there yet. I wouldn't rush into an investment here.
Further fast-lane Foolishness:
- Viacom's Game Face
- Midway's Narrow Scope Scores
- Redstone Likes to Play (Video) Games
- We also have the Midway Games and Viacom discussion boards.