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Yahoo, RealNetworks extend media contract

The Web portal announces it has extended its relationship with RealNetworks after weeks of speculation that the companies were at a crossroads.

Web portal Yahoo today announced it has extended its relationship with RealNetworks after weeks of speculation that the companies were at a crossroads.

With the agreement, Yahoo will incorporate RealNetworks' RealSystem G2 streaming software package throughout Yahoo Broadcast, the Web portal's online streaming media network. RealSystem is a media delivery suite that includes RealServer 7, RealProducer 7 and RealPlayer software.

"We are pleased to build upon our five-year relationship, which brings together RealSystem G2's technology with Yahoo Broadcast's rich media programming to expand and improve the experience of Internet broadcasting for viewers and listeners worldwide," Martin Plaehn, senior vice president of media systems at RealNetworks, said in a statement.

As a result of the agreement, Yahoo Broadcast will continue to use RealAudio and RealVideo streaming on its service despite rumors indicating that the companies' relationship was on the verge of collapse.

Executives at RealNetworks and Yahoo touted the deal as the continuation of a strong relationship.

"The RealAudio and RealVideo products ensure a quality Internet broadcast experience for users of our audio and video programming on Yahoo Broadcast and throughout all of the Yahoo branded properties," Kevin Parke, vice president of Yahoo Broadcast, said in a statement.

"We are pleased to extend our relationship with RealNetworks as a streaming technology solution for our business services customers and consumers and to maintain our commitment to provide choices for Yahoo users and customers," he added.

The deal comes after speculation percolated that Yahoo Broadcast was considering swapping RealNetworks for rival Microsoft's Windows Media as its preferred streaming technology. These rumors, which both companies denied, sent RealNetworks' stock into a 16 percent tailspin for a day.

Sources also indicated that RealNetworks' deal with Yahoo Broadcast was expiring Jan. 1, bringing uncertainty to whether the contract would be renewed or possibly revised or revoked.