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RealNetworks Chooses Publicis

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Publicis in the West has picked up RealNetworks' creative and media account following a review, and is gearing up to launch a campaign for what it calls "the first TV station on the Internet."

Sources estimated billings at $10 million. The agency and client, both in Seattle, declined to confirm that figure.

Publicis overcame three other finalists, Odiorne Wilde Narraway & Partners in San Francisco and Seattle shops Sedgwick Rd. and WongDoody, in a review that began in January.

"They just blew us away from a creative standpoint, their overall grasp of our business and the challenges we face as we establish a new media model," said Tom Kelley, general manager of consumer marketing for RealNetworks, which delivers various media through the Internet.

The account was last handled by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, but it was unclear when that relationship ended. Kelley said there was no agency on board when he joined RealNetworks last October from OWN&P.

One of Publicis' first tasks is the national launch of RealOne, a paid-media subscription service available through the Web. The service, launched in its current form in March, offers a single source for digital programming from such channels as ABCNews.com, CNN, E! Networks, Major League Baseball, the NBA and others. It currently has more than a half-million paid subscribers, but has not been advertised.

Publicis chairman and CEO Randy Browning described Real One as "the first TV station on the Internet" and likened its impact to that of MTV on the cable industry.

Work will include brand positioning as well as TV, print, radio and online ads, Browning said. The shop will partner with sister agency Publicis Dialog in San Francisco for direct response.

Publicis senior principal, group management director Matt Stiker said the win "allows us to make an impression on popular culture."

A campaign for RealOne is expected in mid-summer.