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UNITED KINGDOM

BSkyB has taken a 10% stake in leading U.K. games company Gameplay.com for £10.6 million ($17 million), the satcaster’s first major move into online gaming.

At the same time, BSkyB has agreed to a strategic alliance making Gameplay its e-commerce partner for computer and videogames on its Internet portal Sky.co.uk. Open, the satcaster’s e-commerce service on the SkyDigital platform, already had a deal with Gameplay.

Also in the works is a 13-part TV series on computer and videogames, to be made jointly by BSkyB and Gameplay, and to air on BSkyB’s flagship Sky One channel in the second quarter of 2000.

Universal Music U.K. has upped Lucian Grainge to the new position of deputy chairman, where he will report to chairman-chief exec John Kennedy.

Grainge, 39, will continue as managing director of Polydor Records until a replacement is found, and will assume responsibility for Universal’s two other U.K. labels, Mercury Records and Universal/Island Records. Their managing directors, Howard Berman and Marc Marot, respectively, will report to Grainge.

Grainge has a reputation as a hit maker. At Polydor, he oversaw the success of Boyzone, S Club 7, Lighthouse Family and others.

SINGAPORE

Time Warner’s Warner Bros. Intl. Theatrical Distribution and Golden Village Pictures are merging their Singapore film distribution operations to form Warner-Golden Village.

Golden Village Singapore general manager Gerald Dibbayawan will manage the venture, which will be the first of its kind in Singapore..

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