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Simon & Schuster Interactive Teams With Cable Industry

by Thomas on July 28, 2003 @ 2:19 a.m. PDT

Simon & Schuster Interactive, the digital entertainment arm of Simon & Schuster Inc. today announced the Company has developed a plan with cable industry veterans Chip James and Bill Zaccheo to drive subscriptions of high speed data cable modem service for cable television operators. The two parties will provide a unique marketing program combining the rich, immersive experience that Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming (MMOG) delivers with the high speed connection cable modems.

"To date, the cable industry has focused their marketing on 'always on' and the fast download speed that cable modems provide," said Peter von Schlossberg, vice president of marketing and business development for Simon & Schuster Interactive. "We think it's great entertainment that will be a catalyst to drive new subscriptions and customer retention."

HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS

Cable operators sign up to this low-cost program by agreeing to distribute EVE, a new graphically rich Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) to new, and possibly, existing subscribers. The estimated street price of EVE is $50, however operators who participate will receive the game at a substantially reduced rate. The program begins in September 2003 and runs though December. Operators will receive the game and deliver them directly to subscribers with the cable modem.

EVE is a massively multiplayer game set in a world of galactic proportions. This online universe is governed by a hyper-capitalistic economy where space flight is the path to all commerce, communication, and conflict. Released in May, EVE has attracted players from around the world. Currently to enter the world of EVE, consumers purchase a boxed product at retail, install it on their Internet connected PC, and pay a monthly fee.

Once subscribers sign up for EVE through the promotion, the cable system will begin to share revenue from the monthly fees that are collected by CCP Games, developer of EVE ONLINE.

"After seeing a demo of EVE the implications were clear to me," said Chip James, founder of Armillary Holdings. "Cable operators have been searching for a vehicle that would entice subscribers to upgrade their service. EVE hits the mark on so many levels, and cable operators will now have the medium to carry the message to the consumers. Rarely have I come across two businesses that can benefit so much from each other's operations. This program is just the beginning."

"The promotional support for the program will help ensure its success," James continued. "Cable operators will run a variety of cross channel promotions, bill stuffers and use this for full upgrade campaigns. Simon & Schuster will support this by developing high quality customizable marketing materials. Additionally EVE will be featured in the game pavilion during this summer's Lollapalooza tour which is largely attended by technology savvy crowd.

"After quietly discussing this with several MSOs, we are confident the program will be well received by consumers. The ongoing revenue share with operators will ensure this program's success.

James further commented on the deal. "The EVE program offers other 'Value Added' benefits to prospective high speed broadband subscribers. To broaden the appeal of the program, subs will also get a CD containing other software titles that will appeal to all demographics. These will include "George Foreman's Interactive Guide to Grilling, Barbecue, and Rotisserie," online game title "Bumper Wars," "Ski-Doo Extreme Racing," "Simon & Schuster New Millennium Encyclopedia," "Typing Tutor 12," and other titles. Together the Valued Added software has a retail value over $100. Participating customers will also qualify for discounts on upgraded video cards."

Von Schlossberg added, "Technology and content had finally evolved to a point where a healthy symbiotic relationship could start. Late in the development of our new massively multiplayer game EVE, the real cross-promotional opportunities with the cable TV world became clear. In its purest form, EVE embodies all of the elements that you would expect to find in a broadband experience - a rich, interactive experience that immerses the individual into another world."

Cable companies wishing to participate in the promotion can request more information via email at: chip@evecable.com, or view the promotional website at http://www.evecable.com

Additional information on EVE ONLINE can be found at http://www.eve-online.com

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