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The Explosive Evolution of Online Media

If any doubts remained about the soaring demand for online media, the London Olympics probably dispelled them.

With 217 million viewers in the United States alone, it was the most-watched television event in history. But it also illuminated the evolving habits of online consumers. For starters, two events—the women’s soccer final and women’s gymnastics final—accounted for more online viewership than all events combined during the 2008 Olympics. Tablet computers, particularly the iPad, are driving this trend.

These kinds of striking transitions in online media consumption were top of mind during two gatherings that I attended last week. The first was a roundtable discussion of media executives in Hollywood, which I moderated; the other was a World Economic Forum Industry Partnership Strategy Meeting in New York, focused on media entertainment and mobility.

It was a privilege to be around such industry brain trusts and to share research from Cisco IBSG. Here are four core topics of conversation that emerged: Read More »

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The CDN Federation: Spreading Benefits Across the Web-Video Value Chain

Whether driven by live sports or blockbuster movies, the explosive demand for Internet video keeps rising. Increasingly, consumers want it all, and they want it on any device, at any time. Indeed, by 2015, Cisco projects a quadrupling of IP traffic, 90 percent of which will be video.

This is an exciting trend, for sure. But headaches abound, up and down the value chain. For service providers (SPs), this torrent of web content places an undue burden on the network. And SPs gain little in revenue, since over-the-top content providers often outsource the distribution of their material to pure-play content delivery network (CDN) companies. Meanwhile, the content providers—who increasingly charge consumers for their offerings—fear that they may not be able to maintain standards of quality. As for those paying customers? They want their video now, and they expect it to stream perfectly.

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