UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP LAUNCHES ORIGINAL MUSIC-ORIENTED INTERNET PROGRAMMING DESIGNED EXCLUSIVELY FOR BROADBAND
Initial Series of Pilots to offer Broadband Consumers Premium Music Content
SANTA MONICA, CA (August 29, 2000) - Universal Music Group today announced the launch of its initial series of broadband programs that feature original music-oriented pilots, becoming the first major music company to offer music fans a slate of premium music programming designed exclusively for high-speed connections. Universal Music Group, poised to take full advantage of a huge broadband audience that is rapidly increasing, will kick-off its debut line-up of high-speed programming beginning on August 29th.
"This is the first major broadband programming initiative from any music company," said Larry Kenswil, President, Universal Music Group's eLabs. "The demand for broadband continues to grow quickly and music is the most compelling and utilized form of entertainment on the Internet. By offering original programming from top artists in a format built exclusively for fat pipes, we have taken the first step towards a commitment to establish Universal as the music industry leader for the next wave of the technological revolution."
The new broadband programming initiative allows UMG to explore multiple business models that include content syndication, licensing and distribution relationships and sponsorships, as well as peer-to- peer community-building features. The debut Pilots include on-screen "Buy" buttons, a "Send To A Friend" function and a sign-up form to obtain e-mail updates on new UMG broadband program releases.
"We've created interactive programming that goes beyond just watching videos at high bit rates," adds Lisa Farris, Senior Vice-President, Marketing, eLabs (UMG). "We're excited to be working with such a diverse group of partners to offer consumers a new way of experiencing the artists and music they love while enabling them to customize their broadband viewing environment."
For its broadband entertainment initiative, UMG's eLabs has teamed with several innovative forces in Internet technology including Akamai, one of the foremost providers of high performance services for the delivery of Internet content and streaming media. Akamai's content delivery and streaming services will deliver UMG's graphics and broadcast content with enhanced quality and reliability. iKNOWLEDGE, a leading source of integrated solutions for the creation and delivery of interactive web-based applications, will provide content management and deployment for The Viewing Lounge. Shoiecast Interactive is the program developer for I-View and Smashing Ideas Animation developed original animated Spoof-o-mercials. Sprint and Winfire, among the early broadband access participants, will be deploying UMG's premium programming to their DSL customers; Excite@Home, the leader in broadband, will link its @Home cable customers as well as its Excite.com users to the pilots during the four-month run.
This innovative programming can be enjoyed in all the leading media player formats including RealNetworks, Microsoft's Windows Media Format and Apple's QuickTime. It can be accessed through RealNetworks' RealGuide (www.realguide.real.com), Microsoft's (www.WindowsMedia.com), Apple's QuickTime TV (www.apple.com/quicktime/qtv), various DSL and cable providers, Excite@home's (http://music.excite.com), Sprint's (http://www.sprint.com), Winfire's (http://www.winfire.com), and through UMG's eLab broadband portal at (www.musicUwant.com).
UMG will introduce three "pilots," with subsequent rollouts of additional original programming in the coming months. The trio to debut on August 29th:
* "The Viewing Lounge" (TVL): TVL is the first Internet program that really allows fans to choose their favorite kind of music. It plays a custom block of video programming, delivered in super high quality that also features a multitude of related content to enjoy on every artist, and grows progressively more intuitive as each use further customizes content for the listener.
* "I-View": These behind the scene segments of rare content present exclusive three-to-four minute mini-documentaries on individual artists, including interviews. I-View offers a unique mix of Flash-overlaid- video, creating a mix of animation and synchronized layered multimedia. Each episode includes additional video branches, allowing fans to customize their viewing experience.
* "Music Spoof-o-mercials": These fun parodies offer a peak into the wacky and fictitious world of late night infomercials, while allowing music lovers the chance to discover some of today's best music.
About UMG eLabs
eLabs is a division of UMG exclusively dedicated to exploring, developing, and evolving global business and new technology strategies. It houses an incubation group to develop new businesses internally, which can then be migrated to either existing operating units or new stand-alone divisions, Universal eLabs also includes comprehensive marketing, consumer research, advance technology and a business development team to support all of UMG's online businesses.
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is the world's leading music company with wholly-owned record operations or licensees in 63 countries around the world. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry's largest global music publishing operations.
Universal Music Group consists of record labels A&M Records, Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, Geffen Records, Interscope Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Jimmy and Doug's Farmclub.com, MCA Nashville, MCA Records, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Records, and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and UM3 (outside the U.S.).
Universal Music Group is a unit of The Seagram Company Ltd., a global entertainment and spirits and wine company.