NEW YORK, Sept. 7, 2000 — CBS Television, a unit of Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), and Microsoft WebTV Networks, Inc. have entered into an agreement to deliver interactive television programming. The agreement, which is the first to include interactive programming for comedy and dramatic series, was jointly announced today by Leslie Moonves, president and chief executive officer, CBS Television, and Bruce Leak, president and co-founder of WebTV Networks.
A broad slate of interactive television programming will debut with the start of the 2000-2001 season, including CBS dramas, comedies, specials, variety shows, movies and sports programming. The specific programs will be announced at a later date. CBS anticipates providing approximately 500 hours of enhanced television programming. The service, which will be available through WebTV Networks, will be promoted on the network.
Viewers who subscribe to the Microsoft® WebTV® Plus or UltimateTV® services will be able to access a variety of enhanced content on demand including sports-related information, live polling, cast biographies, program updates, e-commerce and chat capabilities, all via remote control, while watching their favorite CBS programs.
“We are excited about our new relationship with Microsoft WebTV,”
“With the success of ‘Survivor’ and ‘Big Brother,’ we’ve seen how interactive elements can supplement the television viewing experience. This alliance will move the reality of interactive television to a new level and as a result will help CBS offer our viewers new and exciting ways to experience our programming.”
“CBS is a great company to be working with as we expand the potential of interactive television,”
“The audience for CBS’ innovative programming and promotional enhancements will continue to grow as viewers see for themselves how exciting enhanced television is. WebTV Plus interactive service, the recently announced UltimateTV service and all other services based on the Microsoft TV Platform will make these enhancements more accessible.”
“We’re pushing the envelope for television enhancements,”
said Joe Poletto, vice president of the Network Media Group at WebTV Networks.
“This is particularly important to us because it includes a variety of television genres, which will broaden the appeal of interactive television.”
WebTV Plus interactive service with Internet access is available through a set-top box that works with any television or through the EchoStar DISHPlayer 500. Microsoft UltimateTV service for DIRECTV satellite subscribers enables viewers to create their own
and provides interactive programming and Internet access via a set-top box manufactured by THOMSON multimedia Inc. and Sony Electronics Inc.
About CBS Television
CBS Television is comprised of the CBS Television Network — with more than 200 owned and affiliated stations reaching virtually every television home in the United States; the Network’s programming arms CBS Entertainment, CBS News and CBS Sports; and CBS Enterprises, a global leader in distribution.
About WebTV Networks
WebTV Networks, Inc. is a leading provider of enhanced TV services using Internet and digital technologies. WebTV Networks offers a range of enhanced TV services for set-top boxes, satellite products and other TV-related devices. Today, these services include the WebTV Classic Internet service, the WebTV Plus interactive service and WebTV Personal TV service. WebTV Networks owns and operates a network of TV services and provides enabling software and hardware reference designs to consumer electronics manufacturers.
WebTV Networks, based in Mountain View, Calif., is a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. Microsoft incorporates WebTV technologies in the Microsoft TV software platform, which it licenses to television network operators worldwide.
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, WebTV and UltimateTV 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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