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TV ANSWER AND PBS TEAM UP TO ENHANCE VIEWER SERVICE THROUGH INTERACTIVE TELEVISION

 RESTON, Va., April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) will be the nation's first national television network to use interactivity in its on-air programming into homes to enhance viewer contact and service, according to an announcement today by PBS and TV Answer, the leader in interactive television.
 TV Answer and PBS will explore ways to incorporate interactive elements into PBS' programming, primarily its services for the home and workplace, as well as PBS member stations' fund-raising and marketing activities.
 Interactivity is first expected to be introduced in PBS' short, interim programming -- known in the broadcast industry as "bridging" or "bookend" announcements -- that appears between regularly scheduled programs. Examples of this programming are offerings of information or materials related to preceding programs, promotional announcements for upcoming programs and general information announcements. PBS and TV Answer are exploring ways in which these announcements can be used as additional learning opportunities such as providing young viewers with suggested activities related to adjacent programming or giving adult viewers an opportunity to express their preferences for topics of upcoming programs.
 PBS also foresees the possibility of introducing interactivity into local stations' fund-raising efforts as part of their membership drives and their program-related product offers. Interactive television will allow viewers to make their contributions and purchase program transcripts and tapes directly through their televisions.
 "Public television stations always have been leaders in technology and programming that advance our nation's education agenda," said Bruce Christensen, president and chief executive officer of PBS. "This project experiment represents another exciting step in that direction."
 "Interactive television is going to prove to be one of the most innovative technologies available to PBS," said David Lehman, president and chief executive officer of TV Answer. "It will allow PBS to substantially enhance its viewer service by opening a wider array of services and options to its audience. The viewers, especially youngsters, will have instant access to interactive activities and will have opportunities to play along with their favorite characters, and request information and educational materials."
 "PBS and TV Answer are committed to using interactive television to extend the value of public TV programming. This medium has the potential to be a useful and effective educational tool. TV Answer is delighted that PBS wants to work with us to explore the opportunities interactive TV offers," Lehman said.
 TV Answer technology is expected to be available initially on a limited number of PBS' member stations as part of a pilot test early next year. The roll-out schedule will be determined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is expected to start issuing licenses for Interactive Television and Data Services (IVDS) beginning in 1993. The FCC has begun the IVDS licensing process for the markets


in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Dallas and Houston. IVDS is commonly known as interactive television.
 The announcement is the latest in a series of alliances between TV Answer and national advertising and marketing agencies. TV Answer recently announced that it is working with leading agencies like Wunderman/Cato Johnson, Kobs & Draft, Marden-Kane, Montgomery, Zuckerman, Davis, Inc., Visual Systems, Inc., Regal Group, Rapp, Collins, Marcoa, and Transactional Media to introduce interactivity into their clients' marketing mix.
 TV Answer is a wireless communications service that turns TVs from one-way information and entertainment vehicles into two-way communications tools. TV Answer lets consumers play along with television sports and quiz shows, respond instantly to news polls and interactive advertising, and participate in distance learning. TV Answer also lets consumers shop, order prepared foods for home delivery and organize their TV programming information for easy access.
 TV Answer, a leader in the field of wireless Interactive Video and Data Services (IVDS), has led the development of technology for interactive TV since 1986.
 PBS is a private, non-profit corporation serving 346 public television stations in all states, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa with quality programs and educational services.
 -0- 4/19/93
 /CONTACT: Sallie Olmsted, 800-SKY-TALK, pin No. 10010(pound symbol), security No. 1170(pound symbol), or Paul Sturiale, 703-715-8606, both of TV Answer; or Robb Deigh of PBS, 703-739-5392/


CO: TV Answer; PBS ST: Virginia IN: CPR SU:

DC-TW -- DC001 -- 7106 04/19/93 06:00 EDT
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Date:Apr 19, 1993
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