Real Networks debuts streaming media software for corporate Webcasts

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Los Angeles--One week after Yahoo! Inc. began letting customers license its software to produce, edit and manage Webcasts and Web-based seminars, archrival Real Networks Inc. Wednesday rolled out its first software package to let companies take more control over the production of their streaming media projects.

Real Networks, best known for its Real Audio and Real Video players, launched its Real Networks Corporate Communications at the InternetWorld/Streaming Media trade show in Los Angeles. Real Networks, which with Yahoo! is among the leading producers of corporate media Webcasts, is the latest to let its customers take more control in producing Webcasts and online seminars. Inktomi Corp., Microsoft Corp. and other companies in recent months have started offering tools with varying degrees of functionality that are letting companies bring production of their Webcasts in-house.

Revenues for Webcasting could reach $500 million this year, up from less than $200 million in 2001, said Paul Ritter, an analyst at the Yankee Group. In the next three years, more than $5 billion will be spent on Webcasting, Ritter said.

The Real Corporate Communications suite includes authoring tools, media delivery software and a special desktop player. Real Networks is also adding more outsourcing and integration services. Among those who use Real Networks Inc.’s Webcasting services are MasterCard International Inc., Oracle Corp. and California State University at Long Beach.

Yahoo! last week said it has licensed its new Webcast Studio Professional, which lets organizations create, publish and manage Webcasts, to nine customers, including Compaq Computer Corp. and Texas Instruments Inc. Yahoo is offering its software for a licensing fee of $250,000 per year and $2,000 to $5,000 per event.

--Jeffrey Schwartz

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