Ahead of the Bell: RealNetworks shake-up

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NEW YORK (AP) — The departure of RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser from the CEO post could signal a strategic shift at the digital entertainment company, according to one analyst.

In a client note, Morgan Keegan’s Tavis McCourt said he expects the online media and software company to outline the new approach when it reports earnings next month “after an exhaustive strategic view.”

Though McCourt did not speculate on what any new strategy will entail, he said investors have been concerned in recent years “that RealNetworks has had too much of a ‘shotgun’ approach in targeting new markets, and has been willing to support money-losing businesses for too long.”

The company runs, a subscription music service, the online game site and the digital music player RealPlayer.

McCourt, who has an “Outperform” rating on the company’s stock, said Glaser has left RealNetworks with clean financial slate. He called the company’s balance sheet “pristine.” Glaser, 47, founded the company in 1994 and plans to stay on as chairman.

RealNetworks Inc. earned $1.5 million in the third quarter after a year of losses, though revenue dropped 8 percent year-over-year.