BSkyB has taken a stake n online games company Gameplay.com, investing an estimated £11 million.
The 10% stake, brokered by BSkyB's head of new media John Swingewood, will lead to Gameplay developing a 13-episode TV series on computers and video games which BSkyB will show on Saturdays on Sky One next year. The companies also plans to a number of joint advertising and sponsorship ventures.
In addition, Gameplay will become Sky’s games e-commerce partner across its online properties, which includes Sky.co.uk, which has replaced the SkyNow portal.
The deal is the latest investment to be put together by John Swingewood, the former BT chief who took over as BSkyB's head of new media in November. Swingewood was already a non-executive director of Gameplay because of BT’s 10% holding in the company. Last month BSkyB took a 5% stake in online toy retailer Toyzone.co.uk, and further large scale investments are expected in the coming months including deals that will see BSkyB swap advertising airtime on its channels for equity stakes in start-up companies.