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New Batman to Be Interactively Linked to Toys

For the first time, kids (and bigger kids) can truly join in the action of the next BATMAN animated series. Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) announced it has partnered with Mattel Inc. and VEIL Interactive Technologies to link action figure and vehicles with interactive television. The technology will be exclusive to WBCP and Mattel for 2004. VEIL (Video Encoded Invisible Light) technology transmits encoded digital data -- in the form of graphics, storyline components, gadgets and other features -- directly from show, which is captured by Mattel's new line of Batwave children's toys. The new toys will reveal additional information about the show and its characters. THE BATMAN animated series and Mattel's VEIL-enabled toys will debut this Fall.

"The Batwave line is an extraordinary and sophisticated new way for kids to watch and play with their favorite characters -- whether the TV is on or off," said Matt Bousquette, president, Mattel, Inc. "This is the kind of toy that really satisfies today's kid because it not only enhances the viewing experience of the show, it actually pulls the child into the storyline in an imaginative as well as interactive way. It's the next generation toy for a new generation kid."

"Batman has long been known for his cutting-edge gadgets and we think these high tech toys perfectly fit the tradition of the Dark Knight," said Dan Romanelli, president, Warner Bros. Worldwide Consumer Products. "With Mattel and VEIL, we are creating products that deliver a real interactive play experience and create a true extension of the entertainment content."

"More than any other superhero, Batman is known for the crime-fighting technology he utilizes in his mission to keep Gotham safe from all manner of evil-doers," said Sander Schwartz, president, Warner Bros. Animation. "From the tech-filled Batcave to the Batmobile, from the Bat-Jet to the Batarang, Batman's use of next-generation technology has always been front and center. It's only fitting that his new show, THE BATMAN, should be the first animated series to employ VEIL's technology to create a one-of-a-kind experience for Batman's vast audience."

Each episode of the series will be encoded using VEIL technology, an invisible data stream embedded in the video picture that is transmitted to and received by the removable module with LCD screen. While watching the show, the toys can be activated to receive the encoded signal. After the signal is received, engine graphics, diagnostics, gadgets, storyline background from the show, character information, power-ups, and more, are activated within the toys. In addition, when the show is on, the Batman action figure and the Batmobile vehicle recognize the show's signal and "come to life" and react with lights, motion and sound.

The interchangeable product line will include:

* Batwave Communicator Handheld Device, featuring engine graphics, diagnostics, weapons systems, as well as allows the child to unlock different vehicle and figure-based games by watching the show. The Batwave Communicator Handheld Device can be used in the vehicle or on the figure to activate different features, or can be removed for use as a handheld game. It will be priced at $32.99.

* Batwave Batman Action Figure, which "comes to life" as the wings on the backpack pop up and the Batwave chest emblem on the figure lights up. The removable module with LCD screen and buttons, allows kids to download items and power ups as well as different figure-based games and a number of phrases. The backpack module can be used to activate a spring-loaded Batarang and LED in the gauntlet, as well as a selection of downloaded weapon sounds. It will be priced at $38.99.

* Batwave Batmobile with Handheld Device: Once activated, LED headlights turn on, as do its blue side and fin lights, engine lights as well as a "starting up" light and rumble rack. The Batmobile vehicle has a "turbo" mode, which sees the rear fenders pop out sideways to expose missile pods and engine details, and the wings popping-out from under the vehicle -- all with an accompanying sound and force feedback. The vehicle comes with red LED's in the front to simulate lasers and rockets, which are "captured" from the show, and paid-off in lights, sounds and force feedback. The removable Module with LCD screen and buttons, allows kids to download items and power ups. The screen also shows engine graphics, diagnostics, weapon systems and allows the kid to unlock different vehicle based games. When left in the vehicle, the Module can activate different features, or can be removed for use as a handheld game. It will be priced at $51.99.

Warner Bros. Consumer Products, a Warner Bros. Ent. Co., is one of the leading licensing and retail merchandising organizations in the world.

Mattel Inc. is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products, including Barbie. The Mattel family of toys and games is comprised of such best-selling brands as Hot Wheels, Matchbox, American Girl and Fisher-Price, which also includes Little People, Rescue Heroes, Power Wheels, as well as a wide array of entertainment-inspired toy lines. With worldwide headquarters in El Segundo, California, Mattel employs more than 25,000 people in 36 countries and sells products in more than 150 nations throughout the world. For more information, visit

VEIL Interactive Technologies ( is the provider of wireless data transmission delivery systems for interactive television. Through partnerships with content providers, advertisers and manufacturers, the company's technologies allow encoded messages to be invisibly transmitted by a television signal, enabling television viewers to interact with their televisions. The delivery system is unique in that it uses a full-video-image data stream rather than VBI to transmit messages. The technologies have the ability to transform mobile phones, PDAs and numerous other devices into instruments that read encoded messages in the television broadcast signal. Its universal platform supports every international broadcast standard (NTSC, PAL and SECAM).

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
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