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COMPTON'S NEWMEDIA RECEIVES PATENT FOR MULTIMEDIA INVENTION; LAUNCH TIERED LICENSING PROGRAM BASED ON TECHNOLOGY, DISTRIBUTION

 LAS VEGAS, Nov. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Compton's NewMedia, a leading publisher, developer and distributor of multimedia titles, today announced that they were granted United States Patent Number 5,241,671. The patent identifies Compton's NewMedia as the owner of the:
 "Multimedia search system using a plurality of entry path means which indicate interrelatedness of information."
 An abstract in the patent document further describes the invention as:
 "A database search system that retrieves multimedia information in a flexible, user-friendly system. The search system uses a multimedia database consisting of text, picture, audio and animated data. That database is searched through multiple graphical and textual entry paths."
 And further,
 "There is no intention, therefore, of limiting this invention to the exact abstract or disclosure presented herein. More particularly it is contemplated that this invention can be used with any information that can be stored in a database."
 Licensing Program to be Announced
 Compton's NewMedia, while granted patent rights described in the 671 patent, wants to continue to foster the growth of this industry, and will license developers the use of the multimedia invention as defined in the Compton's patent. Compton's licensing program will consist of a tiered structure which will give developers several options including: entering into a strategic joint venture relationship with Compton's NewMedia, entering into a distribution arrangement with Compton's NewMedia's Affiliated Label Program, developing a product using Compton's SmarTrieve technology, or complying with a royalty structure as set forth by Compton's NewMedia.
 "We simply want the public to recognize Compton's NewMedia as the pioneer in this industry, promote a standard that can be used by every developer, and be compensated for the investments we have made to make multimedia a reality for developers and end users," said Stanley Frank Ed.D., president and chief executive officer of Compton's NewMedia. "We encourage developers to use the distribution channels and development tools Compton's NewMedia has made available to them. Our royalty structure and distribution options will benefit our licensees."
 Compton's intends to offer a special reduced royalty program until June 1, 1994, for licensees who sign with Compton's prior to that date.
 Compton's NewMedia applied for the patent on Oct. 26, 1989, immediately after the release of Compton's MultiMedia Encyclopedia, the first electronic encyclopedia to integrate pictures, sound, motion and multiple entry paths. A continuing application is currently pending. To distinguish it from other CD-ROM-based products in its time, the Compton's multimedia invention uniquely provides the ability to explore databases of text or graphics that can be interrelated and yet searched independently of each other.
 "We knew immediately that we had an important development when we first conceived of Compton's MultiMedia Encyclopedia," said Stanley Frank. "We decided to patent a system to search and display multiple databases that would include graphics, sound and video in addition to text. It just happened that the first product we developed was an encyclopedia that would set the standard for educational and entertainment multimedia for years to come."
 The multimedia concept is not limited to CD-ROMs on PCs. As the storage and delivery capacity of media have expanded, Compton's has continued to enhance its technology to extend to other platforms including the Macintosh, Sony Multimedia CD-ROM Player, Philips CD-I, and Tandy VIS, to name a few. The encyclopedia and other Compton's titles will soon appear on other interactive delivery systems as explained by Norman J. Bastin, executive vice president and general manager of Compton's NewMedia.
 "Compton's has invested many years and millions of dollars to create a solid, patented foundation of multimedia technology," said Norm Bastin. "The patent is not limited to any delivery medium such as CD-ROM. We are looking far down the road beyond the CD-ROM to the Digital Highway and what it promises for education, information and entertainment from PDA's to interactive television."
 Technology
 Throughout its history, Compton's continued to improve its search and retrieval technology. The company developed SmarTrieve(TM) in 1986, a developer's tool designed to index unstructured databases (such as encyclopedias or book text) and make them searchable. Compton's SmarTrieve SmartKit Developers Toolkit(TM) was released in 1992 providing indexing tools and a standard user interface which gives developers the flexibility to use Compton's front end interface or substitute their own end user interface if they wish.
 Distribution
 Shortly after announcing its encyclopedia in 1989, Compton's NewMedia began breaking new ground in multimedia software distribution. Instead of relying entirely on traditional channels such as computer specialty and software-only stores, Compton's immediately set out to bring multimedia to bookstores, record stores, mass merchandisers, and consumer electronics retailers. In January of 1993, Compton's announced that it had broken through the software rental barrier by providing CD-ROM titles to Major Video Concepts, one of the nation's leading video rental distributors and only last week through Blockbuster. In August 1993, Compton's announced its titles would be available for lending in public libraries.
 In 1991, Compton's opened its distribution doors to other developers. The company launched its Affiliated Label Program, designed to provide avenues of distribution to smaller developers. Together, these companies and Compton's NewMedia team up to offer a selection of appropriate titles for each of the diverse retail channels that Compton's has opened to multimedia. Today, Compton's has over 20 companies in its affiliated label program, distributing over 150 titles in Compton's 12 channels of distribution.
 Today, Compton's is a leading producer of interactive information, infotainment, edutainment, and entertainment software on CD-ROM and floppy media. Compton's own titles and those of its affiliates can be found at more than 7,500 retailers throughout the country. Compton's has 22 affiliates bringing the total of titles distributed by Compton's NewMedia to over 150.
 Compton's has launched an aggressive marketing program for the mass consumer market, offering such compelling CD-ROM titles as "Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia(TM)" for the PC and Macintosh, "The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous(TM) Cookbook," "Jazz: A Multimedia History," and The Sporting News(R) series.
 Compton's Multimedia Group is part of Tribune Publishing Co. (NYSE: TRB), a wholly owned subsidiary of Tribune, a leading information and entertainment company. Tribune publishes six daily newspapers, operates seven television and six radio stations, produces and syndicates information and programming, publishes books and information in print and digital formats, and has an ownership interest in one of Canada's largest newsprint manufacturers.
 Background Behind Compton's NewMedia Multimedia Invention:
 Patent 671 Granted to Compton's NewMedia
 Early Days, Early Visions
 What is known today as Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia on the commercial market and Compton's MultiMedia Encyclopedia in schools, started as a concept in the early 80's. Stanley Frank, then executive vice president, and Norman J. Bastin, then executive director of corporate planning and development at Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. were searching for a new generation of products to enhance information delivery. While Encyclopedia Britannica was not interested in electronic publishing of their own volumes, they owned the publishing rights to Compton's Encyclopedia, a well-known, highly regarded family and school encyclopedia. The idea for a multimedia encyclopedia started in 1985, and Compton's Encyclopedia was chosen to be the basis for the product a year later.
 Stanley Frank and Norman Bastin realized that the appropriate platform would be one that offered flexibility and interactivity. It had to add value for the user beyond what could be found in a print medium or in the text only CD-ROMs currently on the market at that time.
 Until then, CD-ROM was a little-known medium that focused on text and conventionally used Boolean logic for searches. Frank and Bastin knew they wanted to integrate graphics and set out to find the experts to create the search and retrieval software that would provide easy access to all the textual and graphical elements of the first multimedia encyclopedia. To get a feeling for software, Frank and Bastin acquired Eduware and Designware, two software companies that provided important knowledge about the software industry but lacked development staff. Soon, a relationship was struck with Jostens Learning Co., then Education Systems Corp. and the synergy began.
 Over the next two-and-a-half years, the Encyclopedia/Jostens team developed proprietary software. Rather than relying entirely on software engineers for their multimedia product, they brought in experts from many disciplines including educational designers, educational consultants, animators, programmers, videographers, marketing gurus and financial analysts.
 "We knew what we wanted, got the people we needed and together created a product with appeal and relevance to the mass public," said Bastin. "We tested the product in focus groups who confirmed that people learn best when all the senses are used. They loved the way text and graphics were at their fingertips. We had a winner."
 In conjunction with the software tool development, the editorial team completed an $8.5 million editorial makeover of the underlying Compton's print and photo content. "We knew we were going to have groundbreaking technology and wanted the same for the content," Frank said. "Compton's was written for computers in a pyramid style as with newspapers, with main facts up front, then more depth."
 Today, Compton's is a leading producer of interactive information, infotainment, edutainment and entertainment software on CD-ROM and floppy media. Compton's own titles and those of its affiliates can be found at more than 7,500 retailers throughout the country. Compton's has 22 affiliates bringing the total of titles distributed by Compton's NewMedia to over 150.
 Compton's has launched an aggressive marketing program for the mass consumer market, offering such compelling CD-ROM titles as "Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia(TM)" for the PC and Macintosh, "The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous(TM) Cookbook", "Jazz: A Multimedia History" and The Sporting News(R) series.
 Compton's Multimedia Group is part of Tribune Publishing Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of Tribune, a leading information and entertainment company. Tribune publishes six daily newspapers, operates seven television and six radio stations, produces and syndicates information and programming, publishes books and information in print and digital formats, and has an ownership interest in one of Canada's largest newsprint manufacturers.
 -0- 11/15/93
 /CONTACT: Christina Germscheid of Compton's NewMedia, 619-929-2500; or Pat Meier of Pat Meier Associates, 415-957-5999, for Compton's NewMedia/
 (TRB)


CO: Compton's Multimedia Group; Tribune Publishing Co. ST: California, Nevada IN: CPR SU:

RB-TM -- SF005 -- 4266 11/15/93 09:37 EST
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