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RealTime IT News

Ex-MSNBC'er Heads to Real World

Following his departure from MSNBC.com in June, former MSNBC.com editor-in-chief Merrill Brown has accepted a position with Real Networks as senior vice-president for its RealOne operations.

Brown will be responsible for the company's American RealOne operations, including RealOne SuperPass, RealOne GamePass as well as other associated subscription and advertising products.

"As a pioneer in interactive media, Merrill's vision helped define an industry and we welcome his talents and drive in contributing to the RealOne vision, present and future," said Larry Jacobson, president and COO, RealNetworks. "Merrill's leadership and creativity will play a central role in RealNetworks' strategy to continue to architect our consumer and subscription businesses."

Upon his departure from MSNBC.com, Brown, who also helped found and launch the online version of cable news outlet MSNBC, said that after six years of heading up the operation, he thought it was a good time to move on.

Brown was well known for his ideas about integration of online ventures into the overall media world.

"As content providers recognized the importance of the Internet for both getting their brand out there and monetizing the audience, subscription services such as RealOne will shape the future of content on the internet," Brown said of his new position.

While Microsoft, the "MS" in MSNBC.com, is considered the major competitor for Real, because of Brown's switch in focus, the Redmond company won't likely view his move as a ship jump.

Prior to his work at MSNBC, Brown was one of the initial minds behind the creation of Court TV. As senior vice president, corporate and program development, from 1990-1994, Brown oversaw program planning, advertising, promotion, marketing, public relations and development of day-to-day management of the cable network.

From 1985 to 1990, Brown was editor in chief of Channels magazine, and for the six years prior was associated with the Washington Post.

This is not the first time that the streaming media company has hired media execs to fill Real's ranks. In June, the company hired Dan Schwartz, former vice president and director of Smart Business Magazine, as the company's Vice President of Advertising Sales, and last year, hired former senior vice president and executive producer of News America Digital Publishing, Scott Ehrlich, as president of programming.