RealTime IT News

Meep, Meep! 7th Level Pairs With Road Runner

Software developer 7th Level, Inc. today said it signed an agreement with Road Runner of Tampa Bay, to provide the broadband Internet cable company with an animated character.

The Agent 7 reusable, voice-activated characters are a friendly pirate named Barnacle Bob and a talking parrot, which will be used by Road Runner initially as a children's entertainment feature. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Road Runner is owned by Time Warner, MediaOne, Microsoft and Compaq. It claims to be the largest U.S. online service, providing cable Internet access to 27 million residences. The Tampa Bay division reports 1.3 million users.

7th Level's Agent 7 software produces lip synch and playback animated characters on the Internet, corporate networks and within Microsoft Office or other, major Windows 95/98 standalone PC applications. Character dialog and animation can be changed by users by recording a voice track with a microphone plugged into a PC. Individuals or businesses can create interactive animated characters or objects to increase the Web page and presentation effectiveness, in less time and cost than traditional frame-based animation, according to 7th Level.

"One of our most frequent requests is for content that will attract children," said Bob Bowden, Online Editor, Road Runner of Tampa Bay. "Because it is so easy to create new content with Agent 7, we plan to use Barnacle Bob to build up a library of daily jokes and bedtime stories suitable for children. If the content demonstrates wider appeal, we could syndicate it nationally. If Bob himself becomes popular, we'll look at broadening his use."

"This agreement also steps up our penetration of the growing market for broadband Internet broadcast," said Curt Marvis, President of 7th Level.