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Optus asks, "Are you ready for Participation TV Australia
21 Jan 2008

Optus, with broadcast partner MTV and technology partner Gravity, launched today Vidcast, the first Participation TV program of its kind to appear on Australian television.

Vidcast will air 3pm to 4pm weekdays on MTV's new interactive music channel The Music Factory (TMF). Vidcast or Participation TV (PTV) allows audiences to participate by contributing original video content via a video call or MMS video.

Vidcast viewers will be amongst the first people in Australia to experience this new technology giving them access to a new level of interactivity, empowering them to create and share their original videos with other fans of the show.

Michael Smith, Optus Consumer Group Marketing Director, said Vidcast will deliver a compelling interactive multi-media experience to consumers by bringing together two of the biggest technology trends of 3G video calling and user generated content.

"More and more people are connecting and sharing content online. We've seen this with the explosion in popularity of social networking sites like MySpace and online video sites like YouTube in recent years.

"Participation TV is a dynamic new technology that will bring this online element to television transforming viewers from passive to active audiences and allowing fans with similar interests to connect.

"Optus has a strong presence in the youth market so powering this kind of fresh technology is a good fit for our business," Mr Smith said.

Successful entries to Vidcast will appear on the TMF Vidcast program from 22 January 2008 and will also be published on the Optus Zoo Vidcast mobile WAP site or, as an exclusive offer for Optus mobile customers, on a Vidcast one hour mobile loop available at Optus Zoo later this month.

"This technology enables viewers to contribute to the channel in a very personal way," says Matt Fayle, Director, MTV Digital Media. "With the application being as simple as making a video call from a mobile phone, viewers can then upload their recorded footage direct to the TV screen. Vidcast is the perfect fusion of mobile and broadcast."

Optus has worked closely with Gravity and MTV to develop and deliver Vidcast. Gravity provided the platform that links 3G mobile and TV and says that this platform consists of an unparalleled 3G-to-TV video calling application, a state-of-the-art moderator tool, the TMF mobile site, as well as advanced SMS and MMS services. These applications allow mobile users to record, review and submit video clips to TMF and enable TMF's moderators to review, administer, and select video clips for broadcasting or publishing on the mobile site.

Anthony Farah, Gravity Executive Director, said "We are very proud that our technology is at the heart of this innovative consumer interaction service. The market for digital content is rapidly evolving and we are confident that our emerging cross-channel technologies will have a significant impact on the way consumers interact with TV and digital media going forward."

The Participation TV project was partly funded through the Optus-Nokia Siemens future lab initiative.

Note to editor:

  • Vidcast viewers can either participate via a video call to 0402 22 2278 (0402 22CAST) or by sending a MMS video to 0404 22 2278 (0404 22CAST).
  • All submissions are subject to the following pricing:
    - Video Calls are charged at the senders standard rates as set out by their service provider.
    - MMS are charged at the senders standard rates as set out by their service provider
    - Browsing and Downloading are charged at the senders standard GPRS rates as set out by their service provider.
    - For information on Optus data services pricing, please visit www.optus.com.au and click on Mobile Features and Services.
  • A full list of Vidcast submission terms and conditions can be found at www.tmf.net.au

Media contacts:

Siobhan Quinn
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 8082 8432
Laura Vozzo
MTV Publicity and Communications
Tel: (02) 9921 0200
Frank Lodewick
Gravity
Tel: (02) 8484 3628

About Optus
Optus is an Australian leader in integrated communications. The company specialises in a broad range of communications services including mobile, local, national and long distance telephony, business network services, internet and satellite services and subscription television. For more information please visit www.optus.com.au

About MTV
MTV Networks International includes the premier multimedia entertainment brands MTV: Music Television, VH1, Nickelodeon, TMF (The Music Factory), VIVA, Paramount Comedy and Game One seen in 442.9 million households in 170 countries and 28 languages via 121 locally programmed and operated TV channels and 95 Web sites. The company's diverse holdings also include interests in television syndication, digital media, publishing, home video, radio, recorded music, licensing & merchandising and two feature film divisions, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies. MTV Networks is a unit of Viacom International Inc. (NYSE: VIA, VIA)

About Gravity
Gravity is a developer of cutting edge technologies for user interaction across mobile, internet and broadcast media. By providing a fully configurable platform of innovative applications and services, Gravity enables digital publishers, mobile operators, broadcasters, advertisers and marketers to quickly launch and operate innovative multi-channel engagement experiences to their target audiences.