At Digital Hollywood today, Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks, gave a presentation on the company’s new upcoming RealPlayer11, which has generated some buzz for its video-sharing download capabilities as well as ability to plug into iPod directly. It was the same spiel Glaser gave at the D conference couple of weeks ago, and when I interviewed him then.
But after more consideration, here are some more fundamental questions/observations for him and the company, especially as it is at best a peripheral player in the whole online video revolution going on right now, and trying to get back into the mix.
– Just because a piece of streaming online video doesn’t have a DRM protecting it, doesn’t mean it is not copyrighted. How do you address that?
– 1.5 million RealPlayer downloads daily? Really? Where is the growth coming from, and what’s the real breakdown in terms of growth subscribers?
– What’s the future of RealVideo and RealAudio format? No major media company is planning anything new with those formats, and in facts tons are moving away from it….why should we care about the new RealPlayer when we are not even using any of those formats?
– Sharing in the new player: you mean we install the new RP11, need to download the video first (say from YouTube), wait for that, then play it in RP11, then share from that software, and then the friend at the other end gets an e-mail linking back to the original online source? Why not just use YouTube’s (or any other site’s) sharing functionality to share it, and that’s 50 times faster.
– What’s to prevent YouTube and others to offer the download functionality? They will when they can do it legally.
In the end, RealNetworks has more fundamental issues to address than a software update here and there. Yes there’s the games part, yes there’s Rhapsody, but the format war was lost by Real a few years ago. Microsoft money can only carry them so far.
Our Digital Hollywood coverage is sponsored by PaymentOne’s 2007 Digital Media Payments Report