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Cisco Pilot Proves the Value of CDN Federations

By Marc Latouche, Manager, Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) Service Provider

As more and more video traffic streams across service provider (SP) networks, many SPs are deploying content delivery networks (CDNs). In addition to supporting their own operations, these CDNs provide a viable commercial alternative — or complement — to pure-play CDNs (such as Level 3 and Limelight), and enable SPs to earn extra income from the content flowing over their network.

The Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) believes that CDN federations will provide an even farther-reaching solution. Cisco began to develop the concept of CDN federations in 2011, envisioning them as multi-footprint, open CDN capabilities built and shared by autonomous members. With CDN federations, SPs can interconnect — and leverage — one another’s CDN resources, ultimately benefiting all players in the value chain. Consumers gain in quality of service, SPs benefit through increased revenue potential, and content providers benefit in the assurance that their product will be distributed with guaranteed service and to a wider, potentially global audience.

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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. Indeed, by 2015, Cisco projects a quadrupling of IP traffic, 90 percent of which will be video.

This is an exciting trend. But headaches abound, up and down the value chain. One solution is the CDN federation, which 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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TV Network Websites Draw Eager Web Video Viewers

Brightcove Tube Mogul Research on Web Video

Brightcove / TubeMogul research chart showing web video consumption on broadcast TV network web sites far outstrips web video related to any other type of content -- magazines, music videos, radio, etc.

We recently blogged about NBC and how the TV network leads all others in terms of producing original content for the web. During the Fall 2009 to Spring 2010 TV season, we estimate NBC produced approximately 88 ‘web extensions’ related to the network’s TV programs.  CBS, the #1 rated TV network by Nielsen for that same period, we estimate produced less than half that amount -- 32 web extensions. Meanwhile, for Q12010, NBC.com maintained its spot as the top TV network web site with 9.1 million unique visitors while CBS.com only had 5.6 million uniques, even though CBS was tops in the TV ratings.

The traffic numbers seem to show that NBC has the right idea in terms of focusing on the production of web content for NBC.com – we believe their focus on web content production is leading to more web traffic to NBC.com versus CBS.com.  Now there’s new data investigating the consumption of web video content related to the TV networks ; the data supports the idea that original content is crucial to a TV website’s strategy. For this new research report, video platform Brightcove and analytics firm TubeMogul surveyed nearly 2,000 news and entertainment websites representing 3.4 billion video streams (report link)

A main take away from the Brightcove / TubeMogul report -- web audiences are indeed primarily dwelling on the TV sites to watch video related to TV show content.  

Following are a few example data points that support the finding:

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