Microsoft and Music Choice Team Up to Offer Music Service in Windows Media 9 Series

CANNES, France, Jan. 20, 2003 — Music Choice Europe, the region’s leading digital music broadcaster, today announced it has selected Microsoft® Windows Media®
9 Series as the basis for a packaged broadband music subscription service available now for deployment by European Internet service providers (ISPs). Music Choice Europe is marketing the service to ISPs seeking to differentiate their broadband services and diversify revenue streams by offering high-quality music-subscription packages. This represents a significant step in Music Choice’s expansion of its digital television service into broadband following the launch of a pilot service in Scandinavia in 1998.

Music Choice offers ISPs a complete package for the secure delivery and playback of high-quality audio through broadband networks. This package will use Windows Media 9 Series and Microsoft Windows®
Server 2003 for secure encoding and delivery of content. This will enable ISPs to easily launch music services that take full advantage of broadband, offering consumers access to CD-quality music content and supporting the pioneering 5.1-channel surround sound from Windows Media 9 Series where available and without download delays. Music Choice will offer the capability for ISPs to protect music content using Microsoft’s new live DRM support in Windows Media 9 Series.

Music Choice will offer its international expertise to help ISPs tailor their services, drawing on almost 1 million tracks from its music library, which includes content from all the major record labels and hundreds of independents across the world. In addition, Music Choice Europe will offer ISPs the opportunity to implement e-commerce for consumers to buy audio downloads, CDs and mobile phone ringtones, helping to differentiate their broadband services from competing offerings while creating additional revenue streams.

Simon Bazalgette, CEO of Music Choice Europe, said,
“Music Choice already broadcasts Europe’s leading digital audio music TV offering; now, by working with Microsoft’s Windows Media 9 Series, we can expand even further on broadband while retaining the security and robustness for a mass-market subscription service.”

“Music Choice’s unique tailored offering will enable any ISP in Europe to offer its own packaged music service, clearly differentiating its broadband service offerings,”
said Dave Fester, general manager for the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft.
“Windows Media 9 Series enables ISPs to economically and securely establish new revenue streams and provides consumers with a high-quality listening experience.”

Windows Media 9 Series makes it possible for Music Choice to offer potential partners a number of key business benefits. Windows Media DRM will enable ISPs to implement their own business models, offering subscribers tiered levels of access. Implementation costs are based on the number of servers running Windows Server 2003, rather than the number of subscribers, which is cost-effective for ISPs. In addition, Windows Media 9 Series compression technology enables ISPs to deliver high-quality audio content using minimum bandwidth.

About Music Choice

Music Choice is Europe’s leading digital audio music broadcaster, available in more than 13 million homes in 18 countries across Europe and the Middle East. Music Choice provides consumers with nonstop digital-quality music channels, completely uninterrupted by DJ chat, adverts, VJs or presenters, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With no interruptions for advertising, Music Choice’s channels play about 25 percent more music than the average commercial radio station or music television channel. Founded in 1993, Music Choice is a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: MUS), with key shareholders including BSkyB, Warner Music and Sony Corp.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, used by consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations throughout the world. The new Windows Media 9 Series will power the next wave of digital media, delivering the best playback experience, unmatched audio and video quality, and integrated optional digital rights management technology, and is the most comprehensive platform for developing digital media products and services. The Windows Media platform includes Windows Media Player; Windows Media Services, the powerful streaming server for distributing content; Windows Media Encoder for content creation; Windows Media Audio and Video for the best-quality audio and video; Windows Media DRM for protecting content; and the Windows Media Software Development Kit for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is the fastest-growing and now leading media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, Windows Media and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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