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Big Brother Webcast Counts 25,000 Subscribers

RealNetworks (www.realnetworks.com) announced on Thursday that over 25,000 people have purchased a subscription for its live webcast of "Big Brother 2." The webcast, made available by CBS and RealNetworks, shows four live unedited camera feeds of the Big Brother house.

The Big Brother webcast began in early July, shown as a preview to the subscription service. Many users at the Big Brother Web site's chat room were upset about having to pay to watch the streams this year. During last year's Big Brother show, the streams were completely free. This year, viewers have to pay for a GoldPass subscription ($9.95 a month) or go through CBS and pay as long as the show is on the air ($19.95 for about 3 months).

Recently, RealNetworks announced that its GoldPass subscription service had just over 300,000 subscribers, up from its previously announced 200,000. Already, this is a major source of revenue for the company, and is a proving ground for music subscription services in the works like MusicNet, Napster and PressPlay.

The webcast is being streamed by RealNetworks' Real Broadcast Network (RBN), its content delivery network (CDN) division. The company said that RBN has served over 1 billion streams since its inception. In addition, CBS' Big Brother 2 Web site has logged more than 62 million page views and one million chat log-ins through July 31.

"The popularity of the 'Big Brother 2' programming is a testament tothe power of the Internet as a new vehicle for television networks todeliver subscription programming to viewers," said Mark Hall, vicepresident, Programming, RealNetworks. "The success of thisoffering deepens our commitment to work with partners like CBS tobring new experiences and innovative programming to online audiencesthrough our GoldPass subscription platform."

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