ENGLEWOOD, Colo.-EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) and its DISH NetworkTM satellite TV service announced today a prestigious group of interactive TV (iTV) 2006 award winners recognized for their ingenuity in development, marketing campaigns, programming and more. EchoStar executives announced the awards at the 6th Annual DISH Network iTV Summit in Englewood, CO, March 1-2.
“DISH Network has some of the most exciting iTV applications available today, made possible by extensive and creative work with our iTV partners,” said Scott Higgins, director of iTV at DISH Network. “These partners have become the key to making DISH Network an innovator in iTV applications and enhancing DISH Network’s overall offering to its subscriber base of 13.1 million.”
DISH Network offers the most robust iTV services in the U.S. with an interactive menu that includes more than 40 different virtual and enhanced channels including games, sports, news, shopping, customer support and entertainment. Subscribers can launch any iTV application by going to DishHOME channel 100, choosing a category, and selecting any of the available iTV applications.
The judging criteria for iTV programmers differed depending on the award category but in general developers were selected for their excellence in application delivery, the impact of the channel for subscribers, quality of the application and originality.
DISH Network iTV Award Winners for 2006 (alphabetically by programmer):
#1 Watched iTV Program – Instant Weather from AccuWeather, created by OpenTV
AccuWeather provides the Instant Weather application where DISH Network subscribers can access their current local weather, five-day forecast, set favorite cities and check weather in cities across the U.S. with the touch of a button.
Best iTV Shopping Program – DishMOBILE from Cellpoint, created by Navic
DishMOBILE offers the latest in wireless entertainment through a catalogue of ring tones, java games and pictures available through cell phone downloads.
Best iTV News Program – CNN Enhanced from CNN, created by OpenTV
This exciting interactive channel from CNN allows viewers to read top news stories in categories such as US & World, Business, Tech & Science, Sports, and Showbiz & Health while watching CNN in quarter-screen mode. Viewers can participate in CNN’s daily poll question via text messaging and what’s next on CNN.
Best iTV Marketing Campaign – DishGAMES created by PixelPlay
PixelPlay partners with leading content owners around the world to license branded games for DishGAMES including WPTTM, AsteroidsTM, Missile Command®, CentipedeTM, Monopoly®, Boggle®, Scrabble® and web hits including Chainz, PileUpTM and more. DishGAMES engages subscribers in tournaments by giving away thousands of dollars in cash and prizes to multiple winners each month. They utilize every marketing tactic available from cross channel spots on DISH Network to direct mail pieces and email campaigns.
Best iTV Ad Campaign – Reebok, created by Ensequence
This interactive ad campaign was the first to offer viewers the opportunity to purchase NFL jerseys of Reebok-sponsored players. The campaign featured a new player and jersey each week and viewers were able to participate in a single-question trivia game that was also updated each week.
Best iTV Special Event – ESPN (Interactive Indy 500) created by OpenTV
DISH Network and ESPN offered the 2006 Indianapolis 500 as a multi-camera event in addition to an interactive application which offered special features and included a quarter-screen video of the race.
Best iTV Developer – PixelPlay
PixelPlay developed the NBC Olympics Showcase iTV application for the Torino 2006 Winter Olympics. The application featured a recommended event of the day, Olympic TV listings, medal counts, and the team USA report as well as information about Torino and athlete biographies. PixelPlay also developed the highly successful game service DishGAMES.
Best iTV Game Service – Playin’TV, created by Visiware
Playin’TV offers action, adventure, sports, casino-style, puzzle, board and strategy games. Customers can choose from 18 games rotated weekly such as Carrot Mania, Sudoku, Air Hockey and other great games that entire families can enjoy. Visiware also partners with major entertainment companies such as Universal Studios (King Kong, The Fast & The Furious) in order to bring excitement to all the players.
Best iTV Entertainment Program – Showtime Interactive from Showtime, created by OpenTV
Showtime Interactive is an on-screen destination for the latest information about the Showtime Unlimited movie package (six channels of Showtime, two channels of The Movie Channel, Sundance Channel and Flix). Subscribers can see what's playing, go behind the scenes of their favorite shows, view statistics on the heavyweight champion, get information about actors and instantly add Showtime to their programming package.
Best iTV Sports Program – The TVG Horse Race Wagering application created by TVG Network
The TVG Horse Race Wagering application allows TVG account carriers to place bets on horse races using a DISH Network receiver and phone line. Subscribers are provided with up-to-date odds and results where wagering is allowed.
DISH Network has the most iTV-enabled set-top boxes with more than 13.1 million households. These award-winning applications are built on the OpenTV platform and include CNN, Showtime, and The Weather Channel. OpenTV (NASDAQ GM: OPTV) serves as the underlying middleware and application execution environment for advanced digital television services provided by DISH Network. DISH network is the largest and most successful network operator utilizing OpenTV’s technology in the world.
For more information about DISH Network, call 1-800-333-DISH (3474), visit www.dishnetwork.com, or visit your local DISH Network retailer.
About EchoStar Communications Corporation
EchoStar Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) serves more than 13.1 million satellite TV customers through its DISH NetworkTM, the fastest-growing pay-TV provider in the country since 2000. DISH Network's services include hundreds of video and audio channels, Interactive TV, HDTV, sports and international programming, together with professional installation and 24-hour customer service. EchoStar has been a leader for more than 25 years in satellite TV equipment sales and support worldwide. EchoStar is included in the Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) and is a Fortune 300 company. Visit EchoStar's Web site at www.echostar.com or call 1-800-333-DISH (3474).
EchoStar Communications Corporation
Kevin Hubbard, 720-514-5039