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ABC-Real deal squeezes out Yahoo

An expanded agreement between ABC News and RealNetworks leaves Yahoo's video and audio subscription service without live 24-hour news from ABC.

Yahoo Platinum has been cut out of a deal to carry live 24-hour news from ABC News, leaving rivals AOL Broadband and RealNetworks with the groundbreaking programming.

Yahoo's video and audio subscription service began offering breaking-news feeds from ABC News in March, when the news service launched. At the time, Yahoo joined AOL, RealNetworks and ABC News itself in featuring one of the Net's first all-hours streaming news subscription services, and in capitalizing on people's demand for war coverage online.

Now Yahoo has been edged out of the program because of a new expanded agreement between ABC News and RealNetworks, announced Tuesday. According to RealNetworks, the company negotiated a multiyear deal to be the only Web subscription service to feature ABC News Live. AOL Broadband doesn't count, RealNetworks said, because AOL's service is only available to AOL subscribers, not the Web at large.

"We're proud that as of today, the only Internet premium content subscription service offering ABC News Live will be RealOne," RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser said in a statement.

For its part, Yahoo will continue to carry an array of other ABC News on-demand news coverage as part of its own multiyear agreement. That includes news archives and video updates from shows such as World News Now.

"Yahoo's multiyear agreement to distribute ABC News to Yahoo Platinum subscribers continues to expand," said Yahoo spokeswoman Sarah Ross. "Today, we are distributing a broader array of content from ABC News than we did when the Yahoo Platinum service launched in March."

ABC News said it engineered the deal with RealNetworks with an eye on expanding its live news service onto new Web devices and into international markets. RealNetworks has aggressive plans to take its package of subscription content, RealOne, into these markets, which is attractive to ABC as it makes a bigger commitment to video coverage on the Internet. In May, ABC added its first full-time Net news anchor, Alina Cho, a former substitute anchor for ABC World News Now.

"We remain committed to our relationship with Yahoo," said an ABC News representative. "This new expanded relationship with RealNetworks is to grow our content programming and expand into wireless and international markets."

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

AOL spokesman Marty Gordon said the company's deal is in good standing. AOL Broadband started featuring ABC News Live when it launched in March.