Microsoft Signs Deals With ACTV, eCity, RespondTV to Support T-Commerce, Interactive Advertising on Microsoft TV Platform

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 30, 2000 — Today at the 2000 Western Cable Show, Microsoft Corp. announced deals with three interactive TV leaders to develop a range of television-commerce (t-commerce) and interactive advertising applications for the Microsoft® TV platform. The deals include plans for trials to gather real-world data on how these applications can boost revenues for cable network operators.

The applications will broaden cable network operators’ options for offering personalized television advertising — ranging from highly targeted commercials to somewhat-targeted banner ads — based on subscriber preferences. The three companies are as follows:

  • ACTV Inc. is a pioneer of interactive television applications that leverages its One To One TV software as the foundation of SpotOn, a service that enables the delivery and accounting of highly targeted and interactive TV advertising, featuring full-motion video. Earlier today, ACTV announced a broad alliance with Microsoft to integrate an array of ACTV’s technologies with Microsoft TV.

  • eCity is an interactive television services developer of permission-based targeted advertising and t-commerce applications. The company’s software allows cable subscribers to
    “opt in”
    and view advertisements relevant to their interests. It also gives consumers opportunities to purchase or receive more information about advertised products and services. Microsoft and eCity will work together to develop applications that provide permission-based, targeted delivery of TV advertisements on Microsoft TV-based systems, and Microsoft will support the integration of the applications into its TV platform.

  • RespondTV provides infrastructure and services for interactive TV content, including enhanced TV advertising, programming and TV portals. Through this interactive content, consumers are able to visit an operator’s or programmer’s site, receive more information on a program or advertisement, and purchase products and services through their televisions.

“These agreements demonstrate the benefits of our efforts to create a rich TV platform for software developers, enabling highly profitable new TV applications that cable network operators can easily deploy,”
said Alan Yates, vice president of sales and marketing at Microsoft TV.
“These companies are each pioneers in providing applications that direct new value to network operators. They provide targeting capabilities to advertisers within the business models and technical systems of MSOs [multiple systems operators] and programmers, and the Microsoft TV software platform enables them to make it part of a seamless enhanced TV viewing experience for the consumer.”

About the Microsoft TV Platform

The Microsoft TV platform is a comprehensive, standards-based, client and server software solution that enables network operators to enhance the TV experience for their viewers and subscribers. The software platform creates significant new economic opportunities for network operators and the suppliers of programming, hardware and software in the TV industry worldwide. Microsoft TV is backed by the technical expertise, support and broad third-party developer community for which Microsoft is known. The platform makes it cost-effective for network operators to deploy new enhanced TV services on first-generation digital set-top boxes as well as the new generation of advanced set-top boxes and entertainment appliances now emerging.

The Microsoft TV products include Microsoft TV Basic Digital and Microsoft TV Advanced software for set-top boxes and Microsoft TV Server and Microsoft TV Access Channel Server for providing enhanced TV services through the network operators’ head end. As an extension of the Microsoft TV platform, Microsoft TV Technologies will provide broadcast-rich services and functions within future generations of the Microsoft Windows® operating system, paving the way for enhanced TV services on personal computers and other computing devices.

Microsoft TV has been designed to support worldwide digital TV broadcast standards, including Digital Video Broadcasting (DVB), Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) and ARIB. It also supports commonly used Internet standards such as HTML, JavaScript and Dynamic HTML, as well as all interactive content authored according to the Advanced Television Enhancement Forum (ATVEF) specification. More information about Microsoft TV and Microsoft TV Technologies can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/tv/ .

About ACTV Inc.

ACTV Inc.’s patented enhanced media technologies are incorporated into the company’s Enhanced Media Services Inc. subsidiary. The enhanced media technologies are marketed under the brand names HyperTV (http://www.hypertv.com/) and Bottle Rocket ( http://www.bottlerocket.com/ ), among other products and services. ACTV also created interactive, one-to-one digital television with its proprietary One To One TV software and programming capabilities. SpotOn, the advertising application of One To One TV, is a service of ACTV subsidiary Digital ADCO Inc. ( http://www.spoton.tv/ ).

ACTV has developed an extensive patent portfolio that broadly covers the core methodologies for enhancing television, radio and other audiovisual programming with an array of synchronous and nonsynchronous Internet-based functions, and for the creation and delivery of interactive, one-to-one digital television.

Based in New York City, ACTV has key strategic relationships with many of the dominant players in the Internet, television and digital technology fields, including Liberty Digital Inc., Motorola Broadband Communications Sector, OpenTV and Liberty Livewire Corp. For more information, visit http://www.actv.com/ .

About eCity

eCity is a global company based in Amsterdam and San Francisco. It builds integrated solutions for interactive TV. Its staff represents a world-class heritage of more than 35 years of experience across migrating media platforms, from print, radio, television and online to the new space of interactive television (iTV).

The eCity business focuses on permission-based interactivity that provides all the economic power of television with the self-empowered experience of the Internet. Its technology serves dynamically generated content to an audience ranging from mass to one and it allows for real-time modifications. The result is a hybrid of interactive information and entertainment resources that provides unparalleled commercial opportunity for all the partners in the iTV community. More information can be found at http://www.ecity.nl/ , or (press only) media_relations@ecity.nl.

About RespondTV

RespondTV, named one of the top 10 interactive TV companies by CableWorld magazine (July 3, 2000), is the leading infrastructure and application service provider for interactive TV content. With its partnerships across all major platforms, RespondTV is in a unique position to deliver the only standards-based write-once-read-anywhere solution. The company offers programmers, network operators and advertisers the most comprehensive enhanced TV services available today that support enhanced broadcast and TV portals. Services range from serving, hosting, reporting, targeting and direct response applications to e-wallets and shopping carts.

RespondTV has built a robust state-of-the-art server network that can handle television-sized audiences. RespondTV is compatible with most standards-based enhanced TV systems and set-top boxes including those from AOLTV,* Liberate Technologies, Microsoft TV, OpenTV Inc., PowerTV Inc., Spyglass and WebTV® .

RespondTV is backed by equity investments from AT & T Corp., Comcast Corp., GE Capital Corp., Integrity Partners, Liberty Digital Inc., Sequoia Partners, Showtime Networks Inc., Tribune Ventures and United Television Inc. Additional information on RespondTV Inc. is available online at http://www.respondtv.com/ .

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.

* AOLTV is a service offered by America Online Inc.

Microsoft, Windows and WebTV 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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