“Bugs” Crawls Away With Top Award at Second Annual NATPE Interactive TV Pitch Competition, Sponsored by MicrosoftToronto-Based TV Developer Wins Contest, Gets a Trip to Los Angeles

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 25, 2001 — No one could squish
at the second annual NATPE Interactive TV Pitch competition, sponsored by Microsoft Corp.
the educational program about all things creepy and crawly, beat out 14 other concepts from contestants who cheered, rapped and even tried to bribe judges with lollipops in front of a crowd of roughly 500 television industry representatives at the Las Vegas Hilton Tuesday night. As a result, winner Adam Block from Red Apple Entertainment, a Toronto-based company, will travel to Los Angeles for two days of meetings with industry executives in hopes of landing a development deal for the next hot interactive TV property.

Just short of a three-ring circus in spirit, the
“Gong Show”
-style contest delivered a lot of laughs as the husband-and-wife team of actress Tracey Ullman and TV producer Allan McKeown played host to the raucous event. The contestants pitched ideas ranging from cooking and travel shows to dating games and even a show featuring a ship and crew sailing the globe in search of examples of cultural diversity.

“We’re making progress from last year,”
said Marlin Davis, one of the judges and chairman and CEO of Screamingly Different Entertainment.
“However, people are still fixated on the Web. Interactive television is more than that. Interactivity has to draw the viewer into the content, leading to a deeper experience with the program.”

The winning program focuses on the wide world of bugs. The interactive portion of the show would go beyond links to Web sites and the listing of additional information about specific bugs by linking classrooms around the world and allowing students to share information about their various bug-related classroom experiments. For example, students in Kansas could provide material and streaming video on an experiment they conducted, while students in India could compare their findings and share the differences with the viewing community.

“Kids will be able to watch ‘Bugs’ and learn more about bugs through that interactivity than we could ever teach them on television alone,”
said Block, director of business affairs at Red Apple Entertainment.
“The show has been in development for over a year. We’re excited about ‘Bugs’ for two reasons: It is highly educational, and the content is appealing to kids who like to interact.”

The two runners-up to Block are Angela Kennedy from Pinellas Park, Fla., who pitched an interactive murder-mystery show in which viewers could help solve the crime, and chef Steve Blair from Baltimore, Md., who presented an interactive cooking show called
“Pulp Kitchen.”

“Microsoft TV is excited to be able to help content developers take that next step to making their interactive TV program a reality,”
said Genessa Krasnow, creative strategist for Microsoft TV and one of the judges.
“Along with the Interactive TV Pitch competition, Microsoft TV has the expertise in helping developers with our broad range of content programs, tools and training.”

The Interactive TV Pitch competition is part of Microsoft® TV’s effort to help drive the development of interactive TV content. Through its Content Developer Program, Microsoft is delivering the tools and support necessary to help developers and producers create exciting interactive TV programming. More information about the Content Developer Program can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/tv/content/cdp.asp .

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.

Microsoft TV products include Microsoft TV Basic Digital and Microsoft TV Advanced software for set-top boxes and TV-based devices, and Microsoft TV Server and Microsoft TV Access Channel Server for delivering enhanced TV services through the network operators’ head end. As an extension of the Microsoft TV platform, Microsoft TV Technologies will offer broadcast-rich services and functions within future generations of the Microsoft
Òoperating system, paving the way for enhanced TV services on personal computers and other computing devices. Windows Media™
Technologies are an integral component of Microsoft TV Advanced.

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 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, Windows and Windows Media 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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