VIDEOTRON OPENS INTERACTIVE TRIAL IN U.K. TO ALL AGENCIES; STAFFERS EXIT TIME WARNER INTERACTIVE; COMPUSERVE UNVEILS WEB BROWSER; REAL-TIME TUNES HUMMING ON THE WEB;

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U.K. cable operator Videotron opened up its planned interactive advertising trial to all agencies, after working solely with Chiat/Day, London, for several months. Up to 10 marketers will pay about $64,000 each to participate in the test, scheduled to start this fall. "Chiat/Day has done much valuable work in developing the interactive advertising trial, but clearly it would be inappropriate for them to manage an open industry trial," said Andrew Curry, manager of interactive TV at Videotron subsidiary Videoway.

In a shake-up expected since last fall, Time Warner Interactive was put under the auspices of a corporate board managed by Time Warner's Home Box Office unit, leading to the resignation of TWI Chairman Geoffrey Holmes and Chief Operating Officer Craig Moody. Mr. Holmes had earlier lost his corporate title of senior VP-technology. The 200-employee TWI unit develops and markets interactive software for CD-ROM, TV and other platforms.

CompuServe said it counted 10,000 downloads of its new Web browser in the first 48 hours of its availability. Subscribers will receive three free hours of Internet access per month; additional hours are $2.50 each. CompuServe also will offer a package of 20 hours of Internet access for $15 per month. CompuServe plans to advertise the browser in print, electronic and interactive media.

Real-time audio is coming to the Internet via Progressive Networks, Seattle, eliminating the need to download audio files and listen to them later. Among the World Wide Web publishers that will use the technology are HotWired, Hollywood Online, Metaverse and Global Network Navigator.

Other news:

USA Network and Sci-Fi Channel will carry the interactive programming of Zing Systems, Englewood, Colo., when the company launches its service later this year.....Kroger Co. will test grocery delivery via interactive TV with Interactive Channel in Denton, Texas.....SportsLine USA and Netscape Communications Corp. formed a joint venture to create a sports service on the World Wide Web.....GTE Telephone Operations, Irving, Texas, named Gary Wald VP-advertising development for interactive TV, mainStreet and multimedia, from independent consultant.

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