MCI and Progressive Networks Launch First
'RealNetwork' Delivers Cost-Effective, High-Quality
Internet Broadcast Network Designed to
Reach Large-Scale Audiences
Audio and Video Service for Content Providers
WASHINGTON, DC, August 5, 1997 -- MCI and Progressive Networks today introduced the "RealNetwork," a service that will for the first time deliver audio and video to broadcast-size audiences over the Internet. ABC News, Atlantic Records, ESPN, Home & Garden Television, JAMtv, and the Seattle Mariners are among the first content providers to broadcast audio and video on the RealNetwork.
Together, MCI and Progressive Networks are launching the RealNetwork as a cost-effective, high-quality service for businesses -- including broadcasters, content providers and large corporations -- to broadcast "live" and "on-demand" RealAudio and RealVideo programming to large audiences. Initially, the service has the potential to reach simultaneous audiences of up to 50,000 and daily audiences of 10-15 million visitors through a combination of live and on-demand broadcasts over the public Internet and private intranets. The RealNetwork also can be expanded to serve larger audiences as demand increases.
"By leveraging the power of RealAudio and RealVideo on MCI's Internet backbone, the RealNetwork establishes an important milestone for the Internet," said Rob Glaser, chairman and CEO of Progressive Networks. "In much the same way that Sarnoff and Paley helped to create an infrastructure for radio and TV networks to serve millions nationwide, Progressive Networks and MCI are rolling out an Internet broadcast infrastructure to deliver interactive audio and video programming to audiences worldwide."
"Realizing the promise of the Internet as a multicast medium, MCI is the first carrier and ISP to distribute RealAudio and RealVideo capabilities throughout its backbone," said Vint Cerf, senior vice president of Internet Architecture and Engineering, MCI.
MCI has broadcast-enabled its Internet backbone by strategically placing Progressive Networks' splitter and multicast technology throughout its IP network, allowing any Internet user to access RealNetwork broadcasts. This integration greatly expands the number of people who can tune-in to Internet broadcasts while introducing higher levels of audio and video quality over the Net. RealNetwork customers can realize substantial cost-savings, because Progressive Networks distributed multicasting technology maximizes bandwidth efficiencies on MCI's Internet backbone and minimizes router traffic across the Internet and corporate intranets.
Customers Make RealNetwork Debut
"ABCNews.com is encouraged by this announcement and is committed to RealAudio and RealVideo for delivery of its audio and video content," said Katherine Dillon, vice president, ABCNews.com. "Our goal is to reach as broad an audience as possible with our content, and the RealNetwork is an important step toward realizing that goal."
"The RealNetwork enables ESPN SportsZone to offer the unprecedented opportunity of listening to any pro basketball game live on the Internet," said Geoff Reiss, senior vice president of sports at ESPN Internet Ventures. "Multimedia like these live broadcasts play a huge role in making SportsZone the leader in on-line sports.'
ABC, Atlantic Records, ESPN, Home & Garden Television (HGTV), JAMtv and the Seattle Mariners are among the first customers to debut on the RealNetwork. ABC News has added multimedia capabilities to ABCNews.com to broadcast live news feeds and on-demand reports from ABC News over the Internet. Atlantic Records (atlantic-records.com) will conduct live concerts in its virtual venue, Digital Arena, featuring its label artists. ESPN will use the RealNetwork to broadcast professional basketball games live on ESPN SportsZone. HGTV will broadcast its building & remodeling, gardening & landscaping, crafts, decorating and interior design programming. JAMtv, a multimedia music website, will broadcast live concerts from a variety of venues around the country. The Seattle Mariners, the first Major League Baseball team to broadcast its games on the Internet, will use the RealNetwork to carry all of its games in RealAudio.
RealNetwork: A New Business Channel
"The RealNetwork is an obvious extension of MCI's Internet capabilities," said Stephen VonRump, vice president, MCI Enterprise Marketing. "We're leveraging and enhancing our core Internet networking and hosting strengths to meet growing customer demand. With new services like the RealNetwork, MCI is expanding its suite of Internet offerings and moving closer to our goal of $2 billion in Internet revenue by the year 2000."
The RealNetwork creates a brand new opportunity for businesses and advertisers to reach mass audiences on the Net. Content providers can now attract new audiences and extend existing ones through a variety of RealNetwork service options, including live events, on-demand and pay-per-view programming.
Fortune 1000 companies can use the RealNetwork as a vehicle for internal and external communications. Internally, employees can tune into the RealNetwork to hear live or on-demand executive announcements and participate in new product and professional development training sessions. Since many companies communicate with high-speed LAN/WAN connections, users can experience near-broadcast quality. For external communications, the RealNetwork provides authentication for intranetworking to reach suppliers, shareholders and other communities of interest.
About Progressive Networks
Progressive Networks, based in Seattle, WA, is the streaming media market leader. It develops and markets software products and services designed to enable users of personal computers and other consumer electronic devices to send and receive audio, video and other multimedia services using the Web. Currently, there are 20 million RealAudio and RealVideo players in distribution and 10 to 12 million players in regular use. Progressive Networks can be found on the Web at: http://www.real.com/.
MCI is the leading U.S. carrier of commercial Internet access service both domestically and abroad, where MCI service is available in 80 countries. In the U.S., MCI is the Internet Service Provider (ISP) of choice for an estimated 30% of Fortune 100 companies and other ISPs. MCI offers a wide array of services to both businesses and consumers, including dial and dedicated access, Web hosting, secure electronic commerce and managed intranet services.
MCI, with its world headquarters in Washington, D.C., offers the industry's most comprehensive portfolio of communication services. MCI reported 1996 annual revenue of $18.5 billion, making it the tenth largest telecommunications company in the world, along with being the world's third largest carrier of international voice traffic. Credited with first bringing the benefits of long distance competition to American consumers and businesses, MCI now is leading the charge to open up local calling markets to competition. MCI is awaiting final regulatory approvals to complete its planned merger with BT to form Concert.