RealNetworks Takes Stake in SK Telecom’s Digital Music Division

In this busy Mobile World Congress week, RealNetworks (NSDQ: RNWK) has made its own series of mobile-related announcements, and the one most interesting is that the digital services company has taken a minority stake in Korean telco giant SK Telecom’s digital music division “LoEn”, to jointly develop and market digital music offerings, it said. The two companies have been working together for a while now, since 2001; Real inherited the partnership when it bought WiderThan in fall of 2006. WiderThan, one of the pioneers of ringback tones, has been working with SKT on its music services prior to this deal. With this expansion, which extends the deal for another three years, RNWK’s mobile division will take over operating some more of SKT’s music-related services. As to how the two will work together on LoEn, more details will be release in coming months; could likely include some tie-up with Real’s online music service Rhapsody.

LoEn, formerly known as Seoul Records, was acquired by SK Telecom (NYSE: SKM) in 2005, in its attempt to move beyond operator revenues and into more value-added content services.