On Monday, RealNetworks announced that it is merging its RealPlayer and RealJukebox applications into a single service called RealOne. The move, which has been in the planning stages for some time, brings together all of RealNetworks' streaming media, media playback, and media recording and organization solutions into a single application, which bears a suspicious similarity to Microsoft's all-in-one Media Player for Windows XP (MPXP). But RealNetworks is taking the concept to a different level, one which hasn't yet proven itself in the market: To get the full benefits of RealOne, consumers will have to pay a monthly fee.
This service is called GoldPass, and for $10 a month, subscribers will get access to exclusive content from recording companies such as Warner Music, EMI Group, and BMG. "The incredible breadth of support for the RealOne Platform makes clear that across industries and across borders, the time has come for a universal, unified approach to digital media," says RealNetworks president and CEO Larry Jacobson. "The RealOne Platform gives content providers and technology partners the 'one-stop shop' they need to create compelling, secure digital media experiences for their audiences."
After leading in the market for streaming media and media playback for years, RealNetworks recently surrendered that lead to Microsoft Windows Media Player (WMP). According to recent data from Jupiter Media Metrix, over 24.7 million consumers use WMP, compared to 24.4 million for RealNetworks' players.