Virtual Newscaster Makes Debut : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread


Wednesday April 19 8:39 AM ET

Virtual Newscaster Makes Debut

By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writer

LONDON (AP) - Her first words were ``Hello, world. Here is the news - and this time it's personal.''

Ananova, billed as the world's first virtual newscaster, made her debut on the Internet today, reading a bulletin about a plane crash in the Philippines.

Her British creators say the computer-generated figure - with green hair, big eyes, slightly jerky movements and vaguely American accent - will revolutionize the way the world gets its news.

Ananova ``will completely change the way we communicate,'' said Vivienne Adshead, commercial director of Ananova Ltd.

The company said today's launch went smoothly and that the Web site attracted ``tens of thousands'' of hits in the first hour.

From now on, with a click of a mouse, computer users around the world can have bulletins of breaking news read to them by the glamorous cyber-anchor, programmed to exude a range of human emotions.

In addition to the virtual newscasts, users can arrange to receive tailored e-mail bulletins on subjects that interest them, from sports scores to stock alerts. Just as with a host of other Web sites, they also can browse entertainment listings, buy tickets and make use of Ananova's dedicated search engine.

Soon, Ananova's services also will be available on the new generation of mobile telephones.

Ananova was developed by Britain's Press Association news agency, which has gone so far as to rename its new media division Ananova Ltd.

The company will not reveal how much it cost to develop or how much they hope to fetch when Ananova Ltd. is sold in the next few months - though a sale figure of $400 million has been reported.

Robert Simpson, Ananova's chief executive officer, said the firm was talking with bidders and expected to announce a sale in the next month or two.

Some observers were muted in their assessment of the idea of ``revolutionary'' new news anchor.

``I think it will appeal to the younger end of the market and people who are new to the Internet, people who want a filtering mechanism through all the news that's out there,'' said Rebecca Ulph, an analyst with Internet specialists Fletcher Research Ltd in London. ``But if I wanted a newsreader, I'd turn on the television.''

-- (, April 20, 2000


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Quite clever. "She" even smiles a little "newsreader smile" while delivering some of the lighter news items.

-- DeeEmBee (, April 20, 2000.

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