RealNetworks to Support, Sell Unicast Ads

Ads from advertising tech company Unicast will gain a major new sales outlet through terms of a deal inked Thursday with RealNetworks.

Seattle-based Real, which developed the popular RealAudio and RealVideo streaming rich media content formats, will now support and sell ads in Unicast’s Superstitial format across its network of more than 2,500 Internet radio and television stations, and on about 500 additional live events being broadcast daily via Real on the Web.

RealNetworks said the Superstitial offering will give advertisers more promotional choices. The company already offers 15-second streaming media ads on the network.

“Both RealNetworks and Unicast have created rich-media advertising technologies that are powerful and effective; therefore, forming a relationship with Unicast was a natural,” said Shelley Morrison, vice president of media and distribution sales for RealNetworks.

“By offering our streaming formats with Unicast’s Superstitial, we can provide advertisers with even better branding and response vehicles — and show them other uses for RealPlayer in multimedia advertising.”

Of course, the main beneficiary of the deal is Unicast, which gains a wide audience and new sales channels for its background-loading, cached Flash-based ads.

“Unicast’s agreement with RealNetworks is significant for both of our companies,” said Unicast global marketing vice president Allie Shaw. “Web publishers are becoming more aggressive in their efforts to offer advertisers more compelling ad formats like the Superstitial that can effectively communicate brand messages online.

The company has been making strides to broaden acceptance of its ads lately.

Earlier this week, Unicast signed a deal with entertainment portal eUniverse to carry the Superstitial as a standard rate card item, and it has also made agreements with interactive creative shops Mekanism and StoryWorks.

In another portion of Thursday’s deal with RealNetworks, Unicast will build in support for Real content, allowing advertisers using the Superstitial on the Web to imbed links to RealAudio and/or RealVideo streaming media content within the ads.

“We are equally excited that, by including a link to watch media content via the RealPlayer, Superstitial advertisers can now incorporate yet another creative element to entice users to interact with their brand advertisements.

The agreement also includes a stipulation for future collaboration between the companies, although spokespeople declined to comment on specifics.

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