Snap! To Replace Excite In Real’s G2

Real Networks Inc. Monday named Snap.com, the portal co-owned by NBC and CNET Inc., as its new search partner.

The pact means that searches conducted through Real’s RealPlayer G2 will be handled by Snap!, traffic that now goes to Excite. Snap.com will pay an unspecified fee to Real and the two companies will share any revenues.

Tom Frank, Real’s senior vice president, told Reuters the deal is the biggest distribution pact the streaming media company has ever done.

“We’re interested in the expanded opportunities for the distribution of content to a highly-qualified and highly-targeted audience,” he said.

The agreement will allow streaming media users to search
the Internet for audio, video and multimedia programming directly from
RealPlayer G2. In addition, the updated RealPlayer G2, also announced Monday,
is now available for download.

Other terms of the agreement call for directory listings from
RealNetworks’ RealGuide to be incorporated into Snap.com’s directory, which
the companies said would provide Snap.com users to access a variety of live
and on-demand RealAudio and RealVideo
Internet programming. Snap.com’s rich media search capabilities will also be
featured exclusively on all RealNetworks Web sites, including Real.com, RealGuide, DailyBriefing, Film.com and
MusicNet.com.

Search results from the RealPlayer and from RealNetworks Web sites will be
returned to users on a customized, co-branded
edition of Snap.com
, specifically targeting RealPlayer users. This
version of Snap will offer content from Snap.com For Higher-Speed Users, what the
companies call the first rich media portal service providing a
next-generation broadband capabilities featuring multimedia content, search
and navigation functionality.

Snap! also announced today that Snap.com For Higher-Speed Users has finished
its preview phase launched in March. Code-named “Cyclone,” the next
generation rich media Internet portal offers content and distribution
agreements with more than 50 content, media, e-commerce, telco and Internet
service companies. Snap.com for Higher-Speed Users
will feature all rich media types, including video, audio, gaming, animation,
and telephony with Snap’s! Internet directory and search service.

Certain programming content from RealGuide will also be added to both
Snap.com and Snap.com For
Higher-Speed Users. The RealGuide allows viewers to access top stories and
programming from over 200
RealChannels and RealStations, and also access to more than 1700 radio and
television stations
broadcasting on the Internet as well as over 3000 sites featuring RealAudio
and RealVideo programming.

“Coming on the heels of Snap.com’s launch of
the first-ever rich media portal service, earlier this year, this deal with
RealNetworks further extends
Snap.com’s established leadership position in the crucial streaming media
space,” said Edmond Sanctis, Snap.com’s chief operating officer. “Snap.com continues
to build its vast rich media resources, along with our ability to offer users
of all speeds the richest portal
experience that showcases the best audio and video content on the Web.”

“We are pleased to be joining forces with Snap.com and think this is a very
valuable deal for
RealNetworks,” Frank said. “This
agreement is not only one of the largest financial transactions we have
entered into in the content
aggregation arena, but it provides RealPlayer users with a much more
enjoyable Internet media
experience by combining Snap.com’s premier rich media search capabilities
with RealNetworks content
aggregation properties.”

Monday’s announcement is the latest blow for Excite which next month will end its search deal with Netscape Communications.

Bloomberg news reported over the weekend that the search pact between Netscape and Excite will end June 17.

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