London 6th May 2004: Discovery Kids UK today announced the launch of Gross!, a free2play game for interactive TV. Gross! is the channel’s third interactive game release and demonstrates Discovery’s ongoing commitment to investing in innovative ways to entertain and retain loyal viewers through interactive media based platforms.
The Gross! interactive game follows the commissioning of a new series, delivered by Manchester based Libra Television exclusively for the Discovery Kids channel. The series Gross!, Discovery Kids’ first cross platform commission, has an emphasis on humour and fun, and is all about the things our bodies do, delving into the science, the maths and the history of ‘gross’ bodily functions.
The launch of the Gross! interactive game builds on Discovery Kids’ recent success with Chomp and Mystery Hunters, the channel’s most successful rating series to date. So far the Chomp and Mystery Hunters games have already had over 80,000 players register their scores on the leader board since their launch at the beginning of the year.
Gross! will test players’ knowledge of the human body. Split into 15 zones, players must work their way around the body-shaped game board answering multiple-choice questions on each part of the anatomy. Whether players know the main ingredient of snot or come unstuck in the piddle passage, children of all ages can play on their own or with friends.
At the touch of the red button, children can choose between all three games that are based on the most popular and familiar Discovery Kids characters.
The UK is acting as the test bed to determine the roll out of similar initiatives across other international regions. All games have been developed by NDS Visionik in close co-operation with Tanya Field, vice president of New Media, and Paul Thornton-Jones, New Media Director. NDS’ Visionik is Discovery Networks Europe’s exclusive games technology partner.
Commenting, Tanya Field, VP of new media at Discovery said: “We’re pleased that based on the success of our first two interactive games, Chomp and Mystery Hunters, there is a clear demand for further innovations in the market. We’re confident that Gross! will be equally as loved as the other two and look forward to launching further games in the future.”
Discovery Networks Europe chose NDS as their interactive technology partner in March 2000. Using NDS technology Discovery became the first factual entertainment broadcaster in the UK to deploy enhanced and interactive programming, launching their first interactive program in 2001. Discovery now uses interactivity as an integral part of its service and since installing NDS iRespond™ in 2003 over 120 interactive applications have been developed using the NDS authoring tool. The new interactive games designed and developed by Visionik and powered by NDS Value@TV™ mark another important milestone in NDS and Discovery’s interactive development.
Discovery Kids is one of Discovery Communications Inc.’s global brands, with services available in the UK, USA, Canada, Latin America and Asia. The brand has grown from strength to strength and now has 50 million subscribers worldwide.
In 2003, Discovery Kids UK experienced a 97% growth in the percentage of its target audience, 4-9 year olds, who tune in at least once a month, and now has eight million subscribers in the UK.
Launched in the UK on 1st February 2000, the channel transmits from 6am to 6pm, seven days a week on Sky Digital (channel 618), NTL Digital (channel 825) and on Telewest Digital (channel 721).
About The Games
Gross! will test players’ knowledge of the human body. Split in to 15 zones, players must work their way around the body-shaped game board answering multiple-choice questions on each part of the anatomy. The great new thing about the Gross! Game is that it can be played by up to four people at time. Players choose to become one of four scientist-like characters, and use the remote control to throw a dice to move around the board. Kids will also be able to choose if they want to play a long game (all 15 zones) or a short game (five zones). Whether players know the main ingredient of snot or come unstuck in the piddle passage, children of all ages playing on their own or with their friends, can get truly grossed out.
The release of the discovery Kids ‘Big Bites for Hungry Minds’ Chomp identity in 2003, has been the source of inspiration for this Discovery Kids Interactive game. The aim of this unique game is for the player, acting as the cheeky Chomp character to eat or ‘chomp’ their way through the screen by creating shapes. The whole screen is covered in a single colour, on top of normal television programming. When the player chomps out a rectangular shape, the inside of the shape is removed, revealing the programme the viewer tuned into underneath – this unique element allows the viewers to continue to watch and listen to their favourite programme whilst playing the game. To complete each level, the player has to remove a set percentage of the solid colour – but there’s a catch… in true Pacman style, bonus items and enemies are hidden within the game. Look out for spaceships and sharks that will come chasing after you, the better you get.
Following on from the popular Mystery Hunter series, Mystery Hunters the game follows the two fearless presenters Araya and Christina through similar legends, spooky stories and unexplained phenomena. This time they are in the ancient pyramids of Egypt, where the player takes the role of a Mystery hunter, either Araya or Christina. Roaming through the multi-screen levels – escaping from and trapping ghosts and mummies with poison darts and camera flashes – the hero must collect all the missing fragments of a ‘broken tablet’ in order to decipher a hidden message. Mummies, ghosts, poison arrows and creaking floorboards mean that this is no easy challenge – even for the most daring of Mystery Hunters.
About Discovery Networks Europe
Discovery Networks Europe, launched in 1989, reaches a cumulative subscriber base in excess of 100 million. DNE’s portfolio comprises nine channels across 105 countries in the Europe, Middle East and Africa territories: Discovery Channel, Discovery Home & Leisure, Discovery Health, Animal Planet, Discovery Civilisation, Discovery Science, Discovery Travel & Adventure, Discovery Kids and Discovery Wings. Programming is customised into 20 languages and broadcast on 7 unique feeds.
DNE’s parent, Discovery Communications Inc., is the leading global real-world media and entertainment company, which runs 14 unique TV brands. Launched in the US in 1985, the company now operates in more than 160 countries and territories with more than 1 billion cumulative subscribers. DCI also consists of Discovery.com, Discovery Consumer Products and Discovery Channel retail stores. DCI is privately held; ownership consists of four shareholders: Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE: L), Cox Communications, Inc. (NYSE: COX), Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, the Company’s Founder, Chairman and CEO.
NDS Group plc (NASDAQ/Euronext Brussels:NNDS) is a leading supplier of open end-to-end digital pay TV solutions for the secure delivery of entertainment and information to television set-top boxes and IP devices.
See http://www.nds.com/ for more information about NDS.
Mark Davis /Rebecca Rabin
Tel: +44 (0) 207 907 7800
Discovery Networks Europe
Tel: +44(0)207 462 3731
Tel: +44 (0) 788 191 8158
Published on: 12:00AM on 6th May 2004