RealNetworks Sets Sights on Hollywood Dollars

Streaming media giant RealNetworks is inching further into the digital asset management space, with a new service that it said would help music labels and film studios promote their products online, without fear of piracy.

The Seattle-based firm’s Real Broadcast Network content delivery division said its new Track Promo Service could be used to market music and video that could normally be in danger of being pirated. The service offers encoding, packaging, hosting, and rights management reporting of media assets, which it would stream on demand to users.

Because the assets are contained in RealNetworks’ proprietary format, there’s a lower likelihood of them being pirated — which has long been a problem facing marketers seeking to promote video, audio or print works online.

It’s a relatively new area for a company that to date has focused largely on streaming media services, which compete with similar offerings from Microsoft.

Several other players in the field of digital asset management, like Reciprocal and Magex, have also gone to market with similar solutions, designed to allow marketers to set up and track viral marketing campaigns in which a user would share a limited-time song track among friends.

But RealNetworks, which claims 220 million registered users of its RealPlayer media player, says its built-in user base will make it the biggest player in the digital asset management field.

“Track Promo Service was designed to help media companies augment their conventional promotions and distribution channels, track trends in content consumption, and ultimately increase sales of their media assets,” said Nagesh Pabbisetty, who is vice president for RealNetworks’ Real Broadcast Network.

RealNetworks added the service lets marketers change the specifics of their campaign on the fly — for instance, changing the number of song playbacks a user is allowed to beef up interest.

Ideally, the service will also use the company’s RealSystem Media Commerce Suite, which can be used to facilitate purchases in streaming media.

Already, RealNetworks said it’s launching Track Promo with a client — Wind-Up Records’ multi-platinum rock band Creed. According to the companies, Creed will use the service to distribute a free single from its upcoming album in advance of its release next month.

“The ubiquity of the Real Player is undeniable,” said Wind-Up Records’ Syd Schwartz, who is senior vice president for new media at the label. … We knew we wanted a company with proven experience, technical expertise, and consideration of the consumer experience. RealNetworks was the obvious choice.”

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