Microsoft Announces Beta Availability of New Version of Microsoft Producer For Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2003

REDMOND, Wash., June 16, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the beta version of the new Microsoft® Producer for Microsoft Office PowerPoint®
2003 (Producer 2003). Producer 2003, a free add-on for PowerPoint 2003, adds a host of new features that make it faster and easier for everyday business users and content professionals to create engaging rich-media presentations by synchronizing audio, video, and PowerPoint slides and images.

Producer 2003 offers users enhanced integration with PowerPoint 2003 as well as unmatched audio and video quality thanks to built-in support for Windows Media®
9 Series. It also introduces cross-platform compatibility with support for Mac and Netscape users, which broadens the potential audience for Producer-authored presentations, and complies with the basic requirements for Information Management System (IMS) and Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) e-learning standards. The beta version of Producer 2003 is available for download .

“By creating rich-media presentations with Producer 2003, you can deliver PowerPoint 2003 presentations in a whole new way with audio, video and more,” said Dave Fester, general manager of the Windows®
Digital Media Division at Microsoft.
“As more organizations turn to digital media as a way to save money and improve marketing communications, online learning and executive broadcasts, they will find that the new features of Producer 2003 are a powerful complement to Microsoft Office 2003.”

Organizations Use Digital Media to Save Money and Improve Communications

More companies are embracing digital media. According to the latest data from independent research firm Market Decisions Corp., some 40 percent of large organizations in the United States (those with 5,000 or more PCs) are using digital media for activities including corporate training and communication, citing significant cost savings on travel and facilities and improved information-sharing throughout the organization.

With its easy drag-and-drop interface, Producer 2003 makes it simple for anyone to create rich-media presentations (the combination of synchronized audio and video content with PowerPoint slides, images and HTML) and make them available to a widely distributed set of viewers. It eliminates the need for specialized knowledge of HTML coding and scripting or high-end software applications.

Producer 2003 at a Glance

Microsoft has made significant improvements to Producer 2003, spanning the media capture, synchronization and publishing process while improving the playback experience. Some of the more than 20 new or improved features in Producer 2003 include these:

  • Effortless capture, import and organization of content

    • Capture with unmatched audio and video quality. Windows Media 9 Series support provides capture and output with unmatched audio and video quality, offering 20 percent improvement in audio compression and as much as 50 percent in video compared with previous versions. Producer 2003 includes support for Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series, Windows Media Video 9 Screen and Windows Media Audio 9 Voice.

    • Enhanced integration with PowerPoint 2003. PowerPoint 2003 users can easily capture and save the timings of their slide flips from any presentation (up to five timing sets stored with each presentation) and import these slides into Producer 2003.

    • Easy importing of timeline snap points. Content and media professionals will appreciate this new feature that automatically adds timeline snap points based on user-defined markers or script triggers in an imported text or XML file. This helps simplify and speed post-production work.

  • Synchronize and publish streaming presentations anywhere

    • Easier synchronization. New features include an improved Synchronization Wizard that makes scenarios such as using a teleprompter easier than ever before.

    • Compliance with e-learning standards body requirements. Producer 2003 output complies with the metadata standards prescribed by e-learning specification and standards groups such as the IMS Global Learning Consortium Inc. ( ) and the Department of Defense SCORM ( ), paving the way for deeper usage in education and government.

    • Support for playback by Macintosh and Netscape users. Presentations created with Producer 2003 can be played back on the Mac (using Internet Explorer for Mac) and in Windows-based Netscape browsers, extending their reach and removing a deployment block for some would-be users.

    • Pass-through publishing. Content and media professionals can save time publishing Producer presentations without having to re-encode imported Windows Media Video files.

  • Improved viewing experience with Windows Media 9 Series

    • Playback of presentations with unmatched quality. In addition to its capture benefits, support for Windows Media 9 Series offers an improved end-user viewing experience by providing the highest-quality-per-bit audio and video over corporate networks and the Web.

Beyond the new and improved features, there are additional benefits that come from using Producer 2003 with Windows Media 9 Series:

  • Variable speed playback. Users who have Windows Media Player 9 Series on a Windows XP-based PC can speed up or slow down Producer presentations without changing the pitch of the presenter’s voice, helping improve their overall productivity and understanding.

  • Fast Streaming support. Users who view presentations delivered by Windows Media Services 9 Series in Windows Server (TM) 2003 can benefit from Fast Streaming, which can effectively eliminate buffering delays specific to audio and video when streamed from corporate intranets and the Web.

The full list of Producer 2003 features can be found at .


The beta release of Microsoft Producer 2003 is available for download today at . The public beta of Producer 2003 is available immediately in English, and final versions will be made available later in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Simplified Chinese, Spanish and Traditional Chinese.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) 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, PowerPoint, Windows Media, Windows and Windows Server are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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