PBS and H Design Collaborate to Develop Interactive TV Content for New PBS Series Life 360

Posted by PBS Publicity on

Enhanced TV Series Allows Content Insertions By Select Local Public Television Stations

ALEXANDRIA, VA - October 1, 2001 - H Design, Inc., a motion graphics design and branding company for TV, film and new media, and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) have announced a collaboration to enhance 13 episodes of LIFE 360, a new genre of programming featuring some of America's most talented storytellers. LIFE 360 will premiere on PBS beginning Friday, October 5 at 9 p.m. (check local listings.)

As part of this collaboration, H Design will lead in providing the overall creative graphical treatment for each of 13 episodes of enhanced content, including creation of an enhanced template enabling more than 15 unique enhanced television experiences.

The H Design team has been working closely with PBS to innovate techniques through interactive television that connect viewers in their local communities to events, organizations, and resources that relate topically to the episode of the week. To facilitate this process, H Design will provide LIFE 360 iTV Toolkits to participating stations, enabling the seamless integration of locally inserted enhanced content. H Design is also working closely with PBS to ensure that through parallel production the enhanced content look and feel match closely to the broadcast and Web graphical design.

To make the LIFE 360 interactive television project possible, PBS initiated an unprecedented co-production partnership between PBS, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) and ABC News Nightline. The LIFE 360 interactive television project also brings together a major collaboration between PBS, eight local public television stations, Microsoft TV, Sony Electronics Inc., DirecTV, Chyron, Triveni Digital, Wavexpress, RespondTV and Zenith Electronics Corporation..

Enhanced LIFE 360 offers PBS another opportunity to showcase its vision for digital television. Using tested local insertion technologies and models, eight public television stations will build community-related content around each episode of the national program by creating locally relevant interactivity customized to each market. Participating stations include KRMA (Denver), WGBH (Boston), WNET (NY), KQED (San Francisco), WMVS (Milwaukee), KETC (St. Louis), OPB (Portland), and NJN (New Jersey).

Being the first original series produced for PBS as part of the reinvention of the PBS primetime schedule, LIFE 360 is hosted by the Emmy-winning ABC News Nightline correspondent, Michel Martin. Each 60-minute program in this innovative 13-part series explores an intriguing theme through a dynamic mix of segments that draw on the storytelling craft of the best and brightest independent filmmakers, writers, comedians, musicians, performance artists, and journalists commenting on life today.

Using sophisticated content coding techniques and server database architecture, PBS shall develop the content for exceptional performance on six ATVEF-compliant platforms, including WebTV Plus receivers with MSN TV service, AOLTV, UltimateTV (DBS), Sony Interactive Digital Cable Receiver (Cable), Microsoft TV (Cable, Satellite, Terrestrial), and Zenith (Terrestrial DTV) and Wavexpress (Terrestrial DTV).

"PBS and our participating stations are pulling together a most unique interactive television experience across all ATVEF-compliant receivers," says Deron Triff, senior director for PBS Interactive Television. "We believe that our enhanced LIFE 360 concepts, designs, and technology will demonstrate true innovation that differentiates public TV by our use of digital television to inspire local viewer participation and contribution during and after the broadcast."

Dale Herigstad, creative director of H Design, notes, "LIFE 360 is exactly the kind of next generation enhanced television project that we have come to specialize in. We are thrilled to be working with PBS on this groundbreaking, and innovative, new type of entertainment programming and we share PBS's enthusiasm in creating enhancement layers to programming that allow viewers to connect and engage in ways not seen before."

"Microsoft is pleased to work with PBS and H Design to make interactive TV happen now, by bringing a rich new viewing experience to LIFE 360," said Paul Mitchell, senior director, content standards, Microsoft TV Group. "ATVEF standards are an important part of this collaboration - enabling applications that can run on any ATVEF-compliant platform, such as Microsoft TV, making it easy and affordable to deliver interactive TV content to consumers."

"We are committed to the creation of innovative interactive applications and services for the Sony interactive digital cable platforms," added Michael Fidler, senior vice president, Digital Platform Division, Sony Electronics Inc. "It is an exciting time for the future of TV programming and PBS's efforts to create both local and national interactive programming are impressive. We are pleased to support PBS in the development of LIFE 360."

More about LIFE 360

LIFE 360 is designed to be timely as well as reflective. The partnership between OPB and Nightline brings to the series a seasoned team of television professionals accustomed to examining the nuances of contemporary culture. The show's news roots assure that each week's material will be fresh and current. PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) joined together to create this ambitious blend of performance, documentary and commentary to offer exciting opportunities for independent filmmakers across America and to bring new voices to television.

LIFE 360 is funded by PBS and CPB. It is a joint production of Oregon Public Broadcasting and ABC News Nightline. Executive Producer: Janet Tobias; Co-executives in charge of production: Tom Bettag and John Lindsay; Senior producer: Dan Morris.

A companion Web site for LIFE 360 launched on PBS.org Sept. 27. The site offers interactive explorations of each week's theme artfully presented through interactive stories, photo galleries, insightful passages, whimsical games and more. Extending the themes of the programs into their own communities, public television stations will add customized information of local interest for their viewers.

More about H Design, Inc.

Based in Hollywood, H Design, Inc. was founded in l998 by 23-year design veteran Dale Herigstad, a multi-award-winning artist and marketing communications specialist. For the past 11 years, Herigstad has been involved in many important new media projects including the design of the interface for Time Warner's Full Service Network in Orlando in 1992, a UI design for TCI's Interactive TV platform, and a recent Enhanced TV platform for IXL among others. H Design works across all media platforms on behalf of a wide array of entertainment and media-related clients and projects. They provide visual branding for all forms of traditional media, as well as for the full spectrum of convergent and multi-media, including broadband, streaming, interactive, wireless, kiosks and DVD formats. H Design has designed, created and produced on-air packaging and branding for such "traditional" television clients as FOX Network, FOX Sports Net, TV Games Network (TVG,) WebMD Television, MTV and ESPN, as well as promotion and identity for motion picture clients. H Design has developed the design of forward-thinking user interface settings for, SONY, Intertainer, Liberate, IXL Broadband and Odyssey Technologies, and has produced a successful interactive layer to a hit CBS series.

About PBS

PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 346 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at PBS.org.



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Kevin Dando

Rob Sanborn
H Design