Microsoft Works With Key Industry Players to Enable Rapid Development Of Interactive Programming

Microsoft Works With Key Industry Players to Enable Rapid Development Of Interactive Programming

ATLANTA, May 4, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it is working with leading companies in the television, computer, broadcast, consumer measurement and advertising industries to develop, deliver and display interactive programming. This work represents the continued efforts by many companies to enable widespread deployment and reception of interactive television programs.

“We are pleased that such a wide range of companies are helping to provide the leadership necessary to enable interactive programming to become a reality in the near future,”
said Steve Guggenheimer, group product manager, digital television, Microsoft.
“We feel that companies that begin working with this technology now will become the leaders in this area in the future and come to better understand the potential business opportunities this can provide.”

Interactive programming is television programming enhanced with data to create a richer,

more dynamic experience for viewers. This can be as simple as creating a link between a

TV show and a related Web site, or as rich as creating a program with both a television and Internet experience integrated into one program for the consumer. This capability will not only provide consumers with a richer experience but may help producers to better attract and retain viewers.


Interactive programming will benefit broadcasters, producers and advertisers by differentiating their programs and brands and helping to rebuild and retain audience viewership. Producers can use this to combine the broad reach of traditional television with the personalization of the Web across a wide variety of program genres. Viewers in turn receive targeted on-demand information, interactive feedback loops and communication, online transactions and a variety of other services.

Content providers working in the content-creation area include
one of the world’s most popular television programs, which recently announced plans to add interactive elements to its three-part season finale; Colby Effler & Partners, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based advertising agency that recently created interactive advertising for digital television;
E! Entertainment Television, based in Los Angeles, the only 24-hour network with programming dedicated to the world of entertainment, currently available to 48 million cable and direct broadcast satellite subscribers; Home & Garden Television (HGTV) and the Food Network, two of today’s fastest-growing cable networks, distributed in more than 41 million and 32 million U.S. households respectively, HGTV focusing on how-to and lifestyle entertainment and The Food Network focusing on anything related to food (HGTV and the Food Network use interactive programming by providing on-screen information, detailed plans, instructions and recipes); NBC Interactive, which operates ( , the network’s primary site on the World Wide Web, launched in August 1995 as the first full-scale Web offering from a major television network and which later became the first to feature original episodic programming; The Tribune Co., a Chicago-based media company with operations in television and radio broadcasting, publishing, education and interactive ventures, and as of April the first broadcaster to create live, interactive programming for the Microsoft® Windows® 98 operating system; The Weather Channel, a Virginia-based media company owned by Landmark Communications Inc. with operations in newspaper and magazine publishing, broadcast and cable television, and other video enterprises.


Tool makers are providing solutions that allow television production professionals to begin creating interactive content today. This technology includes the ability to combine data (text, graphics, scripts, etc.) with the actual broadcast signal. This will allow multimedia developers, Web developers and broadcast producers to publish dynamic, compelling programs and help make interactive television programs mainstream.

Tool makers working in this space include Avid Technology Inc., a Massachusetts-based company that recently demonstrated technology to allow television professionals to embed interactive information into TV programs using a system similar to Avid’s Media Composer digital editing system; Toronto, Canada-based Digital Renaissance, whose T.A.G. authoring technology allows producers to create relationships between programs and Web assets, including linking end users to interactive Web content during a program; MEDIAstra, a San Diego-based company that develops and markets innovative software solutions for interactive video on the Web; Mixed Signals Technologies, a Los Angeles-based company that manufactures plug-and-play hardware and software solutions for encoding interactive TV components to live broadcasts or tape and is a leading Internet design agency and content provider, developing advanced online support for interactive TV programming; and Softimage Inc., a Montreal, Canada-based company that develops software for media-rich applications, including video, film, broadcast and interactive games.


Consumer behavior and usage measurement companies provide a service to program producers by helping them understand how consumers are using the new enhancements and interactivity. Measuring new media behavior helps demonstrate the impact of offering interactive programming capabilities.

Measurement companies working in this space include Media Metrix, a New York-based company that measures real-time, actual usage of the entire digital universe, including the World Wide Web, proprietary online services, computer software, hardware and other new interactive applications; and Nielsen Media Research, a New York-based company that provides television audience information services, competitive advertising intelligence services and Internet usage information.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

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

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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