SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 7, 1999 — Today at Streaming Media West ’99, Microsoft Corp. announced that 45 new companies have joined the Microsoft® Windows Media TM Broadband Jumpstart initiative, more than doubling the roster of 36 previously announced companies working to encourage rapid consumer adoption of broadband technology. In addition, existing members reported significant progress in their efforts to improve broadband experience for home users.
The Broadband Jumpstart initiative, announced in September, is an industry coalition that builds on the Windows Media Technologies platform to provide the first end-to-end, open solution for promoting mainstream adoption by removing technological and market obstacles. The initiative has two fundamental objectives: to provide consumers with a greater selection of high-quality content by improving broadband business models, and to accelerate the adoption of broadband services by home users.
The new members reflect the comprehensive nature of the industry coalition supporting the Jumpstart initiative. They include 35 content providers, four encoding companies, two broadband access providers, and four content distribution networks and infrastructure companies.
Key accomplishments of the Jumpstart initiative include the following:
The launch today of the WindowsMedia.com Broadband Guide, which makes it easier for home users to find broadband content and offers content providers a powerful showcase
The launch of the Referral Guide, which matches interested consumers to broadband access providers in their area
Newly operational networks that bypass Internet congestion to provide better-quality audio and video
Packaged and discount encoding services for Windows Media broadband content
Starting today, content sites can convert streaming media inventory from a cost center into a profit center by offering advertisers high-impact, targeted streaming advertisements
“The incredible progress of the Jumpstart initiative demonstrates how our approach of enabling partners with the open Windows Media platform is moving the industry forward,”
said Will Poole, general manager of marketing and business development for the Streaming Media Division at Microsoft.
“This collaborative effort is making broadband a reality by delivering a whole new level of quality and choice to consumers.”
Expanding Broadband Availability
Broadband technology, used in cable modems, digital subscriber lines (DSL) and other high-speed connections, offers radically improved video quality performance compared with existing technologies, fundamentally changing how people use and experience the Web.
“Akamai has initiated a rapid deployment of Windows Media Technologies into its FreeFlow Streaming Internet content delivery service,”
said Ray Weaver, senior FreeFlow Streaming product manager at Akamai Technologies Inc.
“As a technology provider for the recent highly successful ‘Drew Carey Show’ webcast, Akamai enabled and continues to enable the delivery of streamed Windows Media-formatted content with high performance, reliability and scalability. The Jumpstart initiative is really bringing people across the industry together to realize the consumer potential of broadband.”
The Jumpstart initiative involves technology providers from every aspect of the industry, from content providers and the companies that encode and transmit data to the companies that supply broadband access to home users.
Accomplishments. Forty-seven content providers are featured in the new WindowsMedia.com Broadband Guide, the largest directory of broadband Windows Media-formatted content on the Web. The guide takes advantage of the growing WindowsMedia.com user base — currently at 3.3 million unique users per month — to provide an easy-to-use showcase for broadband content. Previously announced content providers live at launch include these:
Alwaysif.com, Digital Entertainment Network Inc., Entertainment Boulevard Inc., foreignTV.com, HOB.COM, IFilm.net, KKRS.net, Launch Media, MSNBC, Music Choice, Pseudo Programs Inc., Raveworld.net, sputnik7.com, ValueVision Interactive/VVTV.com, World Wrestling Federation and WWW.COM
New members. Thirty-five new content providers have joined the initiative, offering sports, news, music and video, film, and other entertainment. Thirty-one are live today, including these:
AdventureTV.com, Atom Films, BBC, Bloomberg, cablemusic.com, Cjazz, CollegeBroadcast.com, Edanz.com, Experience Music Project, fashion tv, FOXNews.com, FOXSports.com, Hollywood and Vine, iLOOKS.com, Inside DVD, IZ.com, maxfootball.com, MediaTrip.com, meTV.com, Ministry of Sound, Mslide, PixelWorld.net, Quokka Sports, Radio Free Virgin, SightSound.com, Sony Music Entertainment’s Columbia Records, SOUNDSBIG.COM, SportsCapsule.com, The Weather Channel, VH1.com and ZDNet
Coming soon to the guide are CinemaNow.com, ComedyNet.com, iCAST and Warner Music Group, as well as previously unannounced content providers BootlegTV.com, Intertainer, RioPort.com, Tunes.com and VirginMega.com.
Accomplishments. Encoding companies today anounced special programs to accelerate the availability of the WindowsMedia broadband. For example, AXE Digital Television is offering a package of services to reduce costs for Windows Media broadband content, and encoding.com annouonced the
“Windows Media Broadband Jumpstart package,”
providing discounts for companies who want video content encoded in Windows Media at bit rates of 300 Kbps of higher.
New partners. AXE, Sonic Foundry, and STV join encoding.com, which announced support for the initiative in September.
“As new technologies like broadband emerge, encoding.com will always be at the forefront of providing the highest-quality, technically superior solutions for customers who want the best in digital media,”
said Martin Tobias, CEO and founder, minister of order and reason at encoding.com.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Microsoft to accelerate the availability of broadband content for Internet users everywhere.”
Infrastructure and Distribution
Accomplishments. The Jumpstart initiative confronts structural challenges presented by today’s Web architecture by working with content distribution networks (CDNs) to bypass Internet congestion and deliver content more cleanly and efficiently to consumers, reducing delays and interruptions. Previously announced CDNs, including Akamai, iBEAM Broadcasting Corp., INTERVU Inc. and Sandpiper Networks Inc., have already deployed networks capable of delivering broadband Windows Media-formatted content to mass audiences. The recent
“Drew Carey Show”
webcast, with more than 650,000 streams successfully delivered by Jumpstart partners, demonstrated the strength of the network.
New members. SkyCache, eMedia and Mirror Image, all CDNs, and StarBurst Software, which offers applications that replicate content from one to many servers, have joined the initiative.
“Delivering broadband content reliably and efficiently is a difficult technical challenge,”
said Ed Huguez, chief operating officer of INTERVU.
“The Broadband Jumpstart initiative, combined with INTERVU’s broadband network distribution capabilities, helps us meet the challenge by encouraging cooperation among key industry players.”
Broadband Service Providers
Accomplishments. The WindowsMedia.com Broadband Guide includes a localized referral service that directs interested consumers to broadband connection providers in their area. The referral service includes previously announced Jumpstart members Covad Communications Group Inc., FirstWorld Communications, Jato Communications Corp., NorthPoint Communications Inc. and Rhythms NetConnections Inc. Two other providers, High Speed Access Corp. and Road Runner, which serves Time Warner Inc.will join MediaOne Inc.; and a growing number of third-party cable operators will join the referral service shortly.
New members. Broadband service providers DSL.net Inc. and Globix Corp.are joining the initiative.
Business Model Support
Accomplishments. Engage Technologies Inc. today announced that its streaming media advertising services are in use today, allowing for the insertion of targeted ads. Following strict privacy guidelines, this service enhances business opportunities for streaming media companies by enabling high-value, targeted advertisements.
“For consumers, the broadband benefits of near-broadcast-quality audio and video are clear. But for this industry to move forward, it has to make sense for content providers and online advertisers, too,”
said David Isenberg, worldwide director of Broadband Applications and Entertainment for Engage.
“Working with the Broadband Jumpstart Initiative, we are able to offer targeted streaming media ad delivery solutions that maximize the return for both advertisers and content providers.”
WindowsMedia.com ( http://windowsmedia.com/ ), part of the MSN TM network of Internet services, is among the fastest-growing major audio and video guides on the Internet. WindowsMedia.com provides access to localized audio and video content worldwide, including major music and video events and entertainment from more than 1,000 content providers.
About Windows Media Technologies
Windows Media Technologies is the leading digital media platform, providing consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations with unmatched audio and video quality. Windows Media Technologies 4, which includes Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools and the Windows Media SDK, is available for free* download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/ . The Windows Media Player is the fastest-growing media player. More than 50 million copies have been downloaded to date — growing by more than one every second.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
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