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
content through AOL My News. My News provides personalized information,
including news, stock quotes, sports and weather.
Last month AOL said it will include RealPlayer software with copies of AOL
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
“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