RealTime IT News

NBCi Remains as Main Content Squeeze for RealNetworks

In an expanded relationship of two household brands, RealNetworks Inc. put its head together with portal NBC Internet Inc. to house NBCi/Real.com Guide in RealPlayer.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Those who download RealPlayer beginning Thursday will be able to make the guide their preferred home page, granting access to news, information and multimedia content to users in North America.

The reworked home page is a co-branded version of the NBCi site containing a RealNetworks module that features links to the Real.com Guide, as well as daily news, music and games special features.

RealNetworks will continue to implement NBCi Search technology as the preferred search service on its Real.com Web site, as well as within the RealPlayer, and RealJukebox. When end users enter a search, the default configuration of Real.com, RealPlayer and RealJukebox uses NBCi Search and will send the end user search results to a RealNetworks/NBCi custom Web page.

Shelley Morrison, vice president of Media and Distribution Sales at RealNetworks, said NBCi's offerings as a portal served as the main catalysts for renewing the deal.

"When you combine those attributes with the rich audio and video features of Real.com, the new, co-branded home page offers everything a consumer could want from a portal experience," Morrison said.

Of the two firms in the deal, RealNetworks could use the help of a strong bundling deal in the public's eye. On Wednesday, the multimedia outfit announced that fourth quarter earnings would be lower than expected, triggering a 45 percent stock plunge Thursday morning.

Shares of RNWK were off $4.50 to $5.44 on the news that earnings per share would come closer to 2 cents than the 4 cents Wall Street analysts had been putting the company down for.

RNWK Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rob Glaser said the drop was precipitated by a slowdown in Internet-related spending.