BT Group PLC (BT) is making a plunge into the digital content management market with the launch Tuesday of a media platform to offer businesses and eventually individuals the ability to store, manage, deliver and sell content such as music and video footage.

The BT Rich Media platform counts on a partnership from RealNetworks Inc., which is providing management tools for content publishing, and TWI Interactive, whose Interactive Content Factory platform will allow users to remotely edit and produce online content.

The offering banks on growing broadband adoption and aims to propel the amount of legitimate content available online, BT said.

All of the content offered on the platform will have digital rights management (DRM) software embedded in it from DMD Secure, a BT spokesman said.

The DRM software can be downloaded for free and the content provider enables it, allowing them to set rules for sharing and billing options.

The platform is aimed at a broad market, from production companies offering digital TV programming to individuals who want to share family photos.

Businesses can sign up for the platform now and it will be available to consumers by the end of the third quarter of this year, the spokesman said. Pricing depends on user needs, such as storage, bandwidth and applications required as well as on the number of users who are expected to download content, he said.

In addition to pushing BT into the content management market, the offering will allow the company to leverage and promote its broadband business. BT has been undergoing an aggressive high-speed Internet push, and said earlier this year that revenue from its broadband business had grown 161 per cent for its fiscal third-quarter of 2003 over the previous year.

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