Comcast expands its games area on Comcast.net, dubbed Game Invasion, out of its walled broadband garden with the launch of GameInvasion.net, a free, ad-supported website. Comcast’s premium 8Mbps customers get exclusive access to the IGN Founders Club, a premium section of the site. The games portal is overseen by Jennifer MacLean, general manager for games at Comcast Interactive. (Click here for a Q&A with MacLean on what cable operators should know about gamers.)

This is the third free, ad-supported broadband portal that Comcast has launched since Halloween, following FEARnet.com, a horror channel, and Ziddio.com, a user-generated video channel, both of which have VOD components. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts comments on the company’s Internet strategy in a Q&A (MercuryNews.com): "We have two generations all living off the same television and computer. My generation and my parents’ generation like to sit down and be entertained. My kids want to control. The Internet is living proof that we all want to surf and go where we want, when we want, and we all want to go somewhere different. Secondly, technology has reached a point where the computer has crashed into the television and so you now have the ability to pause live TV. You have the ability to access a show when you want it. You also have the ability to have user-generated content appear on your PC and potentially on your TV, and so all those initiatives are things we are working on."

AT&T U-verse adds HDNet and HDNet Movies.

Discovery announces Planet Earth, an HD co-production with the BBC. The 11-part series, narrated by Sigourney Weaver, will air from Mar. 25 through Earth Day on Apr. 22.

ESPN will acquire NASN, Setanta’s European TV channel dedicated to North American Sports.

Noggin and Nick Jr. have merged management and creative teams under a new division, Nickelodeon Preschool, to be headed by Brown Johnson.

VH1 commissions original series, Celebhead, for mobile.

WWE reports Q2 earnings.

• The FCC‘s public hearing on media ownership (Dec. 11 in Nashville) will include country music stars George Jones, Porter Wagoner and Naomi Judd.

TNS estimates that U.S. ad sales grew 3.8% from Jan.-Sept. of this year. Cable networks were up 3.3% (to $12.14 bln) over the same period last year.

Bob Pittman joins Spot Runner‘s board of directors.

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C-band Auction Concludes

The C-band auction officially came to a close Friday after 97 rounds of bidding that grossed just under $81bln, cementing its place as the highest-grossing spectrum auction held in the US. FCC chairman Ajit

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