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Panasonic Launches “Living In HD” Project

New York – Panasonic kicked off a promotional campaign, called “Living In High Definition,” that seeks to bring, people, families and communities together through the use of its high definition consumer electronics products.

The effort will award $20,000-plus complete Panasonic A/V and IT product suites to a total of 30 families across the country through March 2008. The campaign could be expanded to 100 families over the next year. The first five or six families will be selected in the next two weeks. The number will gradually be expanded with a few families every few weeks, said Bob Greenberg, Panasonic corporate brand marketing group VP.

Interested consumers and the media will be able to monitor each family’s experiences with the equipment through regular postings and videos on a Web site that launched today.

“Panasonic created the Living in HD program to more deeply understand how people’s lives will change as they become aware of the full potential of HDTV,” stated Paul Liao, Panasonic chief technology officer. “Very few households are shooting video in HD today, but we expect that number will increase with consumer HD camcorders. To ensure that we effectively apply this learning in our ongoing high-definition consumer product development, we have established the Panasonic Living in High Definition Project, headed by Jean Claude Junqua, Panasonic’s San Jose Laboratory director.”

The project was also inspired by a Harris Interactive consumer research study that showed 48 percent of U.S. parents say they spend too little quality time with their children and 63 percent agree that they would spend more money on technology if it increased family time.

Participating families will be selected from submissions placed on the site. Panasonic will advertise the program through Web ads, media reports and word of mouth, Greenberg said.

As part of the program, Panasonic said that starting in September it will begin a nationwide Living In HD mobile tour to give people across the country a hands-on demonstration of Panasonic products in the suite.

Winning families, which will come from diverse backgrounds and areas, will be chosen for submitting the most creative and interesting ideas for documentary films they will produce using a Panasonic HD camcorder and PC editing equipment. The equipment will be included in the product suites each family will receive.

Greenberg said the company is exploring the possibility of opening the program to representative sales team members from retailers including Circuit City and Best Buy, to help promote the program on retail floors.

The winners will be selected by a team consisting of Panasonic executives and program advisers, including Hollywood director and producer Brett Ratner (“X-Men: The Last Stand” and “Rush Hour 3”) and Kevin Smith (“Clerks” and “Chasing Amy”); Columbia University Center for Urban Research and Policy director Sudhir Venkatesh, and Elon University communications professor and author Connie Book.

Ratner, who said during a New York press event here Wednesday that he was inspired in his youth to seek his current career through the use of a Panasonic VHS camcorder, will work with families on developing and creating a documentary using material shot by the participating families.

Ratner plans to work on a final production that will combine some of the material shot for the campaign.

He said the goal is to have whole families and communities come together through the making and viewing of the videos. Content created by the participating families will be available online and is expected “to provide a historical record for future generations that captures the transition and interaction of families encountering new HD technology for the first time,” Panasonic said.

Families in the program will be asked to take part in monthly challenges, such as “Make Dad Cry In A Good Way,” that require family members to work as a team and record their experiences in high definition. Select footage from the challenges will be posted on the Web site.

Families will also participate in periodic surveys and interviews to assess their interpersonal relationships, attitudes and daily activities.

The product suites to be presented to selected families will include a number of high-end Panasonic products including: 50-inch and 58-inch 1080p HD plasma sets; a DMP-BD10A Blu-ray Disc player; a 3CCD HD Palmcorder (HDC-SD1 and HDC-SD5); a Lumix 10.2 megapixel digital camera; Panasonic digital SLR, a Toughbook-52 notebook PC, a complete 5.1-channel surround sound home theater system; a high-definition home powerline Ethernet adapter, network cameras, HD cable or satellite set-top boxes, and a Nintendo Wii game console.
The equipment will be set up in the families’ homes free of charge by Panasonic’s Concierge service team members.