With a Jan 29th
announcement that their profits are down from the previous year and Windows Media taking more and more market share from them, RealNetworks announced that they have come into an
agreement with the NBA to deliver live streaming broadcasts of games.
This deal was very important for Real, helping solidify a future for them selling sports package deals over the internet much like the cable packages we see today. Once broadband connections turn into more of the norm we will see an influx of demand for these types of services, and it’s important for these streaming companies to gain partnerships like this one at an early stage. The recently approved WB/AOL merger also helps RealNetworks, as they have an agreement with AOL that makes them the sole provider of streaming media for the largest ISP in the world. You can bet you’ll be seeing plenty of movies, music, and TV shows ready for distribution from Real in the next few months.
I predict that we’ll see many more deals like the one between RealNetworks and the NBA in the coming months as streaming media companies continue to gather affiliates. This is where the future of media is as the internet will eventually take over for television in the way that we absorb our media.