ST. LOUIS, Mo., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Charter Communications (Nasdaq: CHTR), one of the nation's largest cable operators, announced today that it has signed an agreement with Wink Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: WINK) to deliver Wink Enhanced Broadcasting(TM) and use the Wink Response Network in homes with digital set top boxes. Charter is deploying Wink Enhanced Broadcasting in systems that total over one million subscribers. The agreement was announced today by Jerald L. Kent, president and CEO, Charter Communications, Inc. and Maggie Wilderotter, president and CEO, Wink Communications, Inc. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
''We are very pleased to expand Wink's Enhanced Broadcasting to our digital package because of the positive reaction from our Wink customers in three of our cable systems. Wink's on-screen interactivity enables customers to really connect with the programs they watch; adding even more value to the viewing experience. Wink is a great complement to the other services we offer in our digital package,'' said Jerald L. Kent.
''Today's announcement represents the largest single commitment by a cable operator to expand the availability of interactive programming and e-commerce on TV to viewers across the country. We are excited that Charter is committed to Wink's technology and the ability it has to create a new source of revenue for cable operators,'' said Maggie Wilderotter.
Charter Communications has deployed Wink Enhanced Broadcasting on advanced analog set top boxes in systems in St. Louis, Missouri, Maryville, Illinois, Kingsport, Tennessee, and digital set top boxes in Ft. Worth, Texas. Charter plans to deploy Wink Enhanced Broadcasting on General Instrument's DCT Series set tops boxes and Scientific Atlanta's Explorer Series set top boxes.
Wink Enhanced Broadcasting gives viewers a free and convenient way to interact with programs and advertisements while they continue to watch TV. By clicking their remote control during an enhanced program or advertisement, the viewer can access program-related information such as weather, sports updates, trivia and play along games, request product samples, coupons and other free offers from advertisers and make purchases instantly.
Wink's technology enables programmers and advertisers to enhance TV with interactive overlays that appear as supplemental text and graphics on the TV screen, relating to the TV broadcast. When Wink is available to a television viewer, a small symbol appears on the viewer's TV screen, indicating that the show or commercial is Wink enhanced. The viewer can choose to interact with the show or ad by using his or her existing remote control. Wink is free to the user, requiring no infrastructure upgrades or additional hardware in the home for viewers with Wink enabled advanced analog and/or digital cable boxes.
Wink's complete end-to-end system for enhanced television provides software to create and deliver the interactive enhancements, and collect and route viewer requests through the Wink Response Network. Wink differs from Internet access on television, in that it enhances existing programs and commercials. Wink also has agreements in place with other major cable and satellite operators, and manufacturers of consumer electronics equipment to distribute Wink's enhanced TV feature to viewers.
About Charter Communications
Charter Communications is a Wired World(TM) company offering a full range of traditional cable television services. The company has also begun to offer services including digital cable television, high-speed Internet access and paging and is introducing interactive video programming. All of these services are important steps toward the realization of the Wired World vision where cable's ability to transmit voice, video and data at high speeds will enable it to serve as the primary platform for the delivery of new services to the home and workplace. Charter is the fourth largest operator of cable television systems in the United States, serving approximately 6.2 million customers, after giving effect to a pending acquisition. The chairman of Charter Communications is Paul G. Allen. Jerald L. Kent is the company's president and CEO. More information about Charter can be accessed on the Internet at www.chartercom.com.
About Wink Communications, Inc.
Wink Communications, Inc. based in Alameda, California, provides a complete end-to-end system for low-cost electronic commerce on television. Wink Enhanced Broadcasting allows advertisers, merchants, and broadcast and cable networks the ability to create interactive enhancements to traditional television advertisements and programs. With a click of the remote control during an enhanced program or ad, viewers can use Wink to access program related information, purchase or request information about advertised products, participate in votes and polls, and play along with games and trivia tests.
Wink capability is currently available to viewers in cable markets in California, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Tennessee and Texas. Wink Enhanced Broadcasting has been available in Japan since October 1996 and in the United States since June 1998. A complete list of industry leaders who have adopted the Wink technology and additional information regarding Wink Communications is available at http://www.wink.com.
The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a ''safe harbor'' for forward-looking statements. Certain information included in this press release (as well as information included in oral statements or other written statements made or to be made by the company) contains statements that are forward-looking, such as statements relating to anticipated future revenues of the company and success of current product offerings. Such forward-looking information involves important risks and uncertainties that could significantly affect anticipated results in the future and, accordingly, such results may differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of the company. For a description of additional risks and uncertainties, please refer to the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commissions.
NOTE: Wink is a registered trademark of Wink Communications, Inc. All other products or brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.