RealTime IT News

AOL and RealNetworks in Distribution Deal

America Online Inc. today said it signed a mutual agreement with RealNetworks, under which RealNetworks will distribute a co-branded version of AOL Instant Messenger form the www.real.com Web site, and integrate it into RealPlayer software.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

AOL said it expects to receive greater distribution and promotional revenues as RealNetworks claims a base of 32 million registered users, and averages 125,000 downloads of RealPlayer every day. AOL's Instant Messenger reports more than 35 million in the Buddy Lists network.

Under terms of the deal, AOL Instant Messenger users will be able to send and receive links to real-time and on-demand RealAudio and RealVideo in instant messages through RealPlayer.

RealNetworks will also provide access to RealNetworks' streaming media Daily Briefing content through AOL My News. My News provides personalized information, such as including news, stock quotes, sports and weather.

Last month AOL said it will include RealPlayer software with copies of AOL 4.0 CD-ROMs it plans to distribute. In addition, RealPlayer software will be available for download at AOL's Web site. RealNetworks is also to start bundling AOL's service software on all CD-ROM copies of its products.

"This agreement fits in with our strategy to be the single platform that brings together all of the best applications that consumers want to use online," said Barry Schuler, President of AOL Interactive Services. "Software like RealNetwork's RealPlayer helps us make the interactive experience as dynamic and enjoyable as possible."

"Our relationship with America Online provides us an unprecedented opportunity to increase the number of people accessing and experiencing state-of-the-art streaming media software," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of RealNetworks, Inc. "We believe that making RealPlayer available through AOL.COM will build on the popularity of streaming media even more, improving the interactive experience for millions and millions of Internet users."