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October 7, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

America Online Inc has announced a mutual distribution agreement with RealNetworks Inc that will give it expanded promotional opportunities for its AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) software and the new AOL My News custom information offering. Under the terms of the deal, RealNetworks has agreed to distribute a co-branded version of AIMessenger from its web site and will integrate it with the RealPlayer software, giving the AOL product an inroad to the 32 million registered users of Real Player. The deal will also give AIM users the ability to send and receive links to real-time audio and video in instant messages via RealPlayer. In addition, Real Networks will contribute to AOL programming by allowing access to its streaming media Daily Briefing content through AOL’s My News – a personalized news and information service that is one of the features on a revamped, simpler site. Another feature of the redesigned site that caters to the internet community at large is Hometown AOL, which allows members to create and maintain personal home pages. The agreement with RealNetworks follows last month’s announcement that AOL would be including RealPlayer software in the latest version of its client, AOL 4.0, which is being distributed over the next few months (CI No 3,505). Separately, AOL announced a new deal that expands its relationship with SportsLine USA Inc, with a three- year deal worth $23m in cash, stock and warrants. The agreement means AOL will also be able to share in revenues attributable to AOL’s promotion of SportsLine’s offerings once certain initial thresholds are met. In addition, AOL will receive prominent CBS Sports on-air promotion and other SportLine promotion and programming. SportsLine USA is guaranteed three years of being the anchor tenant on AOL’s Sports Channel, as well as those of and CompuServe and the premier sports information provider on the Digital City local services. The deal replaces a previous deal between the two companies which expired at the end of August and was worth $4.5m to AOL.

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