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Vizrt signs Letter of Intent to acquire Curious Software

Vizrt and privately held UK-based Curious Software have signed a letter of intent by which Vizrt is to purchase all assets of Curious Software Company Ltd, or all of its issued share capital.
The acquisition is expected to be closed by June 1, 2005 subject to the satisfactory conclusion of the due diligence process and approval by the Board of Directors of both Vizrt and Curious Software.
Curious Software's core product, Curious World Maps, has become the firmly established industry standard for digital map creation in broadcast television news, documentaries, video and film production, and a range of other media. Its intuitive user interface and comprehensive built-in databases make it quick and easy to generate highly detailed, broadcast quality still and animated maps of anywhere in the world on any Windows PC or Mac.
Curious World Maps is used by approximately 500 customers around the world, including 185 broadcasters in the US.
KWWL, a Raycom Media station in Iowa, is a typical Curious customer, representing the growing number of local US TV stations using Curious World Maps in the newsroom and beyond. KWWL broadcasts to audiences in a market that includes Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Iowa City and Dubuque.
Dale R. Woods, VP/General Manager of KWWL, said: "Curious mapping software has elevated our graphic presentation of the news. When breaking news occurs, we can instantly get a map locator on the air. I'm certainly a believer in Curious World Maps. We often have two maps on the 5pm news and three on the 10pm news, showing five different stories. We've also used Curious very effectively during the 2004 Presidential elections, as we were able to show the changes by counties in Iowa from the previous election. The ability to animate our mapping is very visually appealing to our viewers."
Woods adds that Curious World Maps is used in every newscast on KWWL and that everybody from the reporters, producers and directors has embraced this new technology.
The combination of products such as Vizrt's Viz|Artist animation software with Curious World Maps will provide users with a powerful template-based mapping system employing sophisticated 3D animation and design tools for mapping amendments - all running on Vizrt's high-performance renderer, Viz|Engine. This is already being demonstrated by the Spanish broadcaster ETB who has integrated Curious World Maps and Viz|Weather to significantly enhance their weather programming.
"Maps are a requirement for broadcasters all over the world," said Bjarne Berg, President and CEO of Vizrt. "They are fundamental content for the reporting of news and weather. Therefore, it's essential for a graphics company like Vizrt to offer the best product in the market to our clients. By joining forces and integrating Curious World Maps with our Viz|Engine renderer, broadcasters now have a mapping solution that allows them to produce maps faster, with a better look and less effort.
Furthermore, Curious World Maps will be integrated with the full range of Vizrt solutions, including the Viz|Trio character generator and Viz|Weather forecast software for the creation and playout of weather-related graphics. I believe this will benefit Vizrt considerably both by adding excellent new products to our product line and by including the high-calibre people who made and sold them within our company.
Halid Hatic, President of Curious Software, added: "Curious World Maps is the industry-leading system for the creation of still and animated maps in the television news environment. By adding Vizrt's rendering software to Curious World Maps and combining our sales forces, we add trajectory to both companies' products, especially in the US where Curious has significant market penetration."

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