Narrative signs alliance with RealNetworks

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Narrative Communications Corp., Waltham, Mass, said it has partnered with RealNetworks, Seattle, to develop an integrated package that combines streaming media content with interactivity for Web banner ads.

In May, Narrative unveiled enhancements to Enliven, a Java-based service that allows banners to handle secure credit-card transactions or on-demand literature fulfillment without requiring visitors to click through.

CO-MARKET CAPABILITIES

As part of their relationship, the companies will co-market their combined capabilities. Typically, interactive agencies will work with Narrative to develop Enliven-enhanced ad creative, then incorporate RealNetworks' technology to stream audio and video content.

The Enliven technology will automatically scale the experience to match the customer's connection and environment, offering advertisers the ability to design interactive ad campaigns that use high-quality video footage streamed with audio.

Travel industry advertisers could design banners that play video clips of a vacation resort and allow the user to enter a credit-card number to hold a reservation.

Entertainment industry applications include integrating a movie preview, then allowing users to enter ZIP codes to obtain nearby theater addresses.

US WEB, GREY AMONG CLIENTS

Broadcast news outlets could air live news feeds all day through ad placements around the Web.

Narrative is working with interactive agencies US Web, Santa Clara, Calif., and Grey Interactive, New York, to develop Enliven-enhanced streaming media campaigns for demonstration this week at the Jupiter Online Advertising Forum in New York.

NetFlix, which rents and sells digital video disk movies, and LiveWorld Productions, which produces online community Talk City, are among the first advertisers to create ads with the combined service. Other Grey Interactive and US Web accounts are also working on campaigns.

The new development project is in beta testing. Narrative co-founder and CEO Hilmi Ozguc expects the upgrades to Enliven to be operational in the fall.

Copyright August 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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