Studio targets cross-promo, audience retention, desktop branding opportunities through updateable, enhanced browser

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. and TEMPE, Ariz., May 22, 2000 - Universal Pictures (www.universalpictures.com), a unit of The Seagram Company Ltd. (NYSE: VO) and enhanced browser-developer NeoPlanet, Inc. (http://www.neoplanet.com) today announced a partnership in which Universal Pictures will offer customized versions of NeoPlanet's enhanced browser to help strengthen online audience ties, and promote and cross-promote upcoming films. The companies plan to jointly develop custom browsers for more than a dozen upcoming films and DVD releases.

Each new Universal browser will feature interface designs with sounds and images from the movies, and direct "channel" links to Universal's online properties. The first browser was released with the Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas movie and is currently available free for downloading at http://www.vivarockvegas.com/html/browser.html.

"These new enhanced browsers offer audiences a compelling way to navigate the Web," said Kevin Campbell, vice president, new media marketing, Universal Pictures. "By offering a permanent situation on the PC desktop that can be updated, the new browsers also allow us to develop a more direct relationship with our consumers for online promotions and messaging. We are excited to work with NeoPlanet in this approach to building and strengthening Universal's audience community online."

In addition to enhanced navigation, the NeoPlanet application includes a remote updating infrastructure similar to that of online services. Updates can be delivered universally or on a targeted basis within NeoPlanet's client-server architecture. The architecture enables distributors to dynamically update content channels, rich-media advertising and other features built into the browser.

"The combination of Universal's popular movie brands with our persistent client application and integrated server-based management represents a compelling tool to enhance customer relationships, and provide unique cross-promotional opportunities," said Drew Cohen, president and CEO, NeoPlanet, Inc. "We are proud to partner with Universal in leveraging the PC desktop to build and strengthen their online audience relationships."

Universal's enhanced custom browsers will feature:

  • Custom movie sounds and images throughout the interface
  • Channel navigation, including direct links to Universal online content
  • Integrated search and email
  • Customizable "skins" allowing users to easily change the look-and-feel of the browser
  • Macromedia Flash 4 Player

The NeoPlanet application is approximately 2MB and requires Windows 98 or Win 95/NT with IE 4.0 or higher installed.

NeoPlanet combines content, communications and community to bring the best of the Internet to the consumer's desktop. The company allows users to reflect their own "Internet Fashion" by customizing NeoPlanet's Internet Desktop through personalized "skins." NeoPlanet features a built in directory of user customizable Content Channels featuring Lycos' leading Internet content allowing users to personalize their surfing experience. Distribution channels include Web sites and direct marketers, ISPs and OEMs. NeoPlanet is free and easy to download at http://www.NeoPlanet.com. NeoPlanet, Inc. patent pending.

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