RealNetworks taps streaming market

RealNetworks taps streaming market

If you've let the audio-visual Internet broadcast market fly by, you might still catch the replay.

Streaming media Internet software vendor RealNetworks has launched its presence in the Australian market with a local office in Sydney and the appointment of distributor Express Data.

RealNetworks' presence in Australia is expected to give a boost to the Australian content being broadcast on the Internet, while delivering some of the killer applications that drive the demand for new faster PCs.

While no one is willing to estimate the market potential for the suite of Internet broadcasting applications, they fall into three categories: content creation, content serving, and content playing. RealPlayer is reported as having more than 60 million registered users worldwide, and 1.5 million in Australia alone. But the money is in the untapped market for companies to produce and send out information over the Internet that incorporates audio and video.

RealNetworks' Australian managing director Chris Jacobson claimed that, while Australia is very Internet-savvy, "We've only scratched the surface when it comes to streaming multimedia over the net."

Commenting on its newest distribution arrangement, Express Data general manager Ross Cochrane said: "We believe the IT channel needs to be active in helping customers use newer technologies. The value of resellers is in helping their [business] customers take advantage of technology that helps improve business practices." To illustrate its capacity to educate the market, Cochrane referred to the role Express Data has played in bringing newer technologies like thin-clients, browsers and firewalls to market. The bulk of the licensing revenues are expected to come from the broadcasting software, so the distributor is looking for channel partners with customers that have the need and ability to generate and broadcast content.

Express Data's product marketing manager for RealNetworks, Greg O'Loan, said that they were approaching the emerging opportunity with a partnering mind set. "We're looking for two types of partners to bring the products to market. The first is the traditional reseller with the capability to provide an integrated solution, and particularly with an interest in the audio/visual market. The other will produce content that stimulates the demand for broadcasting and serving. Some organisations will be involved in both," O'Loan explained.

Although hesitant to put a value on the distribution, O'Loan expects to initially generate between $50,000 and $100,000 in revenue per month. "It's strong technology and it has a broad range of business sectors where it can be applied," he added.

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