MTV Europe buys into Gallic game

24-hour local channel helps music net expand

LONDON — Viacom’s MTV Networks Europe is playing a new game, buying 50% of French videogames channel Game One via a deal with French media company Atari.

The alliance is MTV’s first foray into gaming and the next step in its international expansion.

“Videogames and home entertainment are integral to European youth culture, so we see opportunities to expand Game One to other markets, as a natural complement to our stable of youth and music brands,” said Simon Guild, MTV Networks Europe chief operating officer.

Game One, a 24-hour local language channel devoted to games, is distributed to 3.5 million homes on all cable and satellite platforms in France.

With Game One ad sales repped by MTV’s French sales house MTV Publicite, the alliance will also offer opportunities for marketing partnerships via a games and music-related offerings.

The management of Game One will remain the same under CEO Michael Sportouch. He will report to a board appointed by Atari and MTV.

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