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SONY ONLINE AND COLUMBIA INTERACTIVE WILL MERGE

Sony Corp. of America and Sony Pictures Entertainment will announce today the merger of Sony Online Ventures and Columbia TriStar Interactive to form Sony Online Entertainment. There will be no layoffs. The new company will strengthen the online network of games at The Station@sony.com (www.station.

sony.com).

Fitnessonline set to partner with AOL

Weider Publications' site, fitnessonline (www.fitnessonline.com), is expected to announce an exclusive deal with America Online to be an anchor on the Healthy-Living and Sports Channels.

Fourth-quarter ad sales expected to be strong

The Internet Advertising Bureau this week is expected to release fourth-quarter online advertising revenues, prepared by Coopers & Lybrand. While the IAB didn't release numbers, Peter Storck, group director of online advertising at Jupiter Communications, said he believes Internet ad revenue for 1997 will be close to $940 million, including online classifieds and directories.

In other news

Netscape Communications Corp. set up a separate division to oversee its Web site business. . . . Media Metrix launched a new measurement service that will track the behavior of local market audiences on the Web.

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