RealTime IT News

Espresso Group, RealNetworks Partner for Multimedia Operations

Italian publishing enterprise Gruppo Espresso has entered into a strategic agreement with RealNetworks, a leader in Internet audio and video services, to distribute information and entertainment via multimedia protocol.

The deal includes the incorporation of Espressos print media and radio network operations - Radio DeeJay, Radio Capital and Italia Radio.

The new venture, coordinated between RealNetworks and Kataweb SpA, the Internet holding company of Gruppo Espresso, will also include a series of new audio and video products offered through the net.

According to one source, Gruppo Espressos interest in audioweb services and technology stems from a strategy that Internet will, in the not to distant future, change the way in which people utilize and receive information and entertainment from radio, television, and computer sources.

Through the accord with RealNetworks, the Italian media company hopes to be on the cutting edge of these changes, allowing it to continuously expand its listening and viewing market, thus increasing interest and revenue from advertisers working with Gruppo Espresso.

Internet Radio, according to Espresso executives, offers a vast, new marketplace for advertisers. This is particularly true given the technological advancements in recent years, which have created an environment whereby Internet radio stations can offer real-time information and music, without transmission delays caused by slow-speed modems.

The marketing plan of Gruppo Espresso and RealNetworks calls for the development of radio broadcasts and promotions to draw the young Internet user, with hopes of generating a million listeners. Both companies will work under the Kataweb Network umbrella, Espresso developing the editorial and musical content while RealNetworks focus on the technological architecture.

While Internet Radio is the first step in the Espresso/RealNetworks partnership, representatives of the Italian media giant - though not wanting to reveal details -- have hinted to the fact that television, cinema, e-commerce and other entertainment ventures utilizing Internet protocol may be in Katawebs long-term business strategy.

Under a recent agreement with Societa Italiana degli Autori ed Editori (SIAE), the Italian organization for the rights of authors, Kataweb will be allowed a multimedia license to broadcast the works of musicians and song writers for an undisclosed royalty.

"This is the first step in the realization that culture cannot develop through the Internet without respecting the rights of authors," said Mauro Masi, commissioner of SIAE.