BOSTON: RealNetworks has consolidated its external PR capabilities by naming Shift Communications its US AOR.Todd Defren, principal at Shift Communications, said the agency will be conducting traditional and social media programs for all of RealNetwork’s divisions including Rhapsody, RealPlayer, RealArcade, and Technology Products and Services—the company’s mobile division.
“We’re helping develop a blog outreach strategy, blogosphere monitoring, and advising them on how to best respond to comments and bloggers themselves,” Defren said. “We already help them set up the RealPlayer blog for the launch of the newest version of RealPlayer.”
Bill Hankes, VP of corporate communications at RealNetworks, said Shift will also assist in helping the company push its digital entertainment strategy.
“We’ve been talking about our businesses as individual units, when, if fact, there’s this larger digital entertainment strategy that we have,” Hankes said. “And you can expect more from Real on digital entertainment and expect Shift to be pushing that message pretty hard.”
Hankes said hiring an AOR to represent the company and all of its divisions is a new and much different strategic approach to PR for the company, which previously worked with a number of agencies on its different divisions. RealNetworks most recently worked with Sutherland Gold on its music business and Barokas PR on its games division in the past.
“We had agencies working for our multiple businesses but we haven’t had an AOR that’s going to think about the reputation of the corporation,” Hankes explained. “That’s really the context for hiring Shift because they can be our advocates for traditional and social media.”
Hankes declined to discuss financials of the one-year agreement, but said Shift beat out two large agencies in the final pitch.
The account will be led out of RealNetworks offices in Boston and San Francisco. Defren said there will be a team of 12 to 15 people working on the account that will report to him and Mandy Mladenoff, VP of the San Francisco office.
RealNetworks works with Axicom Communications in Europe. The two agencies worked together last month on the announcement that RealNetworks purchased Sony NetServices, a division of Sony based in Europe.