Towers Productions and 21e Sign Agreement for Acquisition, Development and Distribution of Broadband Content

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Towers Productions, Inc., the Chicago-based producer of factual and entertainment programming, announced that it has signed an agreement with 21e, a leader in Internet and television technology based in Nashville, to create a partnership for acquiring, developing and distributing video programming to broadband users worldwide. Broadcast and telecommunications service provider Crawford Communications will provide operational support for the new venture’s distribution.

Towers Productions, Inc., the Chicago-based producer of factual and entertainment programming, announced that it has signed an agreement with 21e, a leader in Internet and television technology based in Nashville, to create a partnership for acquiring, developing and distributing video programming to broadband users worldwide. Broadcast and telecommunications service provider Crawford Communications will provide operational support for the new venture’s distribution.

Towers Productions will produce and source programming for global broadband distribution using 21e’s Web-based television platform. As part of the agreement, 21e will create a broadband performing arts portal which will include films from the Broadway Archive Primetime Specials, the most extensive library of Broadway plays and great works of dramatic literature produced for television over the last five decades. The 21e platform generates revenue from advertising, e-commerce and merchandising, subscription and transactional downloads of video files.

“Broadband provides a unique opportunity for content owners to build a direct relationship with viewers,” said Jonathan Towers, president and executive producer of Towers Productions. “We want to enable them to get their programming in front of the widest possible broadband audience and monetize it. Together with 21e, we will help optimize their programming assets by providing editorial and technical services, repurposing content for the Web, and creating the broadest possible scope for exploiting content across all distribution platforms.”

“21e was created to provide the best-in-class television experience for broadband users,” said 21e founder and CEO Rick Davis. “Enhancing the quality of the Web video experience drives revenues from multiple sources. Our goal is to provide users of 21e’s broadband network with great programming, the highest quality of service on the Web, and instant access to merchandise and services within an integrated programming experience. At the same time, we ensure our programming partners of robust security and rights management within the broadband environment.”

Among the categories of programming and virtual on-demand networks that Towers Productions and 21e will offer include: news and current affairs; performing and fine arts; music; sporting news and events; documentary; international and ethnic; and faith and values. Towers Productions and 21e launched this initiative at the MIP-TV programming event held in Cannes, France, April 3-7, 2006.

About Towers Productions Inc.

Founded in 1989, Towers Productions is a full-service television production company based in Chicago, Ill. The company has produced over 300 hours of factual and entertainment programming for U.S. and international networks including A&E, The Biography Channel, The History Channel, Discovery Networks, National Geographic Channel, PBS and the Weather Channel. Among Tower’s signature series are “American Justice” and “Biography” (A&E) — two of the longest running and most successful shows in cable television history — as well as “Storm Stories” (The Weather Channel) and “The Final Report” (National Geographic Channel). Nominated for Emmy and Cable Ace Awards, Towers Productions was recently honored for Best Writing and Best News Documentary Special at the New York Festival for the four-part mini-series "Inside 911", produced for the National Geographic Channel. Visit http://www.towersproductions.com for more information.

About 21e

21e was founded in 1998 by Rick Davis as a converged media company combining expertise in creative and network design, broadband operations and distribution, advertising and e-commerce, on-line provisioning and capital funding. The company’s investors include U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, Dr. Robert Frist, Jr., Chairman of the Frist Family Internet Partnership, and John Ingram, Chairman of Ingram Book Group and Vice Chairman of Ingram Industries. Since 21e’s inception, the company has produced two major live Web cast events: “Woodstock ’99” and “Politically Wired 2000,” coverage of the 2000 presidential election. 21e is currently expanding its channel base with a variety of new programming opportunities from various content providers throughout the U.S. and is aggressively developing a new sports programming model that will capture the attention of millions of sports fans globally. For more information, visit http://www.21e.net.

About Crawford Communications

Crawford Communications, an Atlanta-based company, is a leader in the electronic media services industry, offering domestic and international clients a full spectrum of services for television, satellite communications, Internet, film and audio. Established in 1981, the company has evolved with technology to comprise the best in satellite transmission, television network origination and playback, transportable satellite truck services, disaster recovery, streaming media/Web casting, online services, film transfer, digital and HD post production, sound design and mixing, 5.1surround sound, DVD authoring and standards conversion. For more information, visit http://www.crawford.com.

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Suzanne Lee
21e
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