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Video: How Has Large-Scale Content Delivery Changed in the Last 3-5 Years?
Limelight's Brett Mertens, MLBAM's Eric Klein, and Qwilt's Mark Fisher debate the most noteworthy changes in scaled content delivery over the last few years.
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Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Brett Mertens, Limelight Networks: The numbers go up every year. The scale is just changing. The market's changing, who's using the services are changing. My mom, she's using a Roku now to stream stuff, and she's not watching stuff on traditional cable anymore. When she started to join the pack here, everybody else was already on board. So, that viewership is changing quite a bit, as is, I think the complexity of customers like MLBAM, and their understanding of what's happening with their content. It wasn't that many years ago where they would have said, "We're gonna have a big event," and at the end they would have come to us--as a CDN, not necessarily Limelight--at the end and said, "Okay, how did that event go?"

Now, when I talk to my customers, they're telling me things about what's occurred in the network and how performance was at a different spot in it. And it's not because their end users, their viewers have called up and complained about what's going on; it's because they've collected that data from the system. And they're doing analysis of it and making decisions, because they see it as mission-critical to accomplishing their goals. So, it's really a different type of interaction. You have to work much harder now to do a good job, and people know whether or not you're doing a good job. You're getting a report card from at least some percentage of your customers as a CDN all the time--you did this event, this is how well it went, and this is how much traffic. Because everybody's doing multi-CDN which is, I guess, a new thing too. "This is how much traffic I gave you because of your performance," is something that just really wasn't happening like that at all, in my experience at least, four or five years ago.

Eric Klein, MLBAM: There's two challenges that have changed in the last couple years that are becoming more and more prevalent. The first one is that as a content provider now, I'm constantly paying attention to performance. It's critical to my end customers, it's critical to how things are getting delivered, and it's a key crucial aspect of that workflow that, as an individual responsible for delivery, I need to consider.

And then the second point: the requirement for capacity at larger scale goes up and up. As Brett's mom gets a Roku, and everyone's mom gets a Roku or an iOS device, that's more and more content streaming in different ways that people haven't streamed through before. The latest numbers about OTT of just cable packages have completely shifted, and there are millions of people that are now watching through alternative means, that, ESPN for example, can't reflect in their numbers. But it's still being done, and people are still using different packages and receiving content in those new, unique ways. And as content providers, we need to figure out a way to get our content delivery partners to fulfill it.

Mark Fisher, Qwilt: The other thing that I sense is different is, streaming is kind of leading, if you will. I've never been a part of the broadcast industry, but I've heard things like, "4K will first come via streaming," because the TV sets aren't necessarily there, and the rest of the ecosystem to support and broadcast. And it suggests that now maybe streaming is leading the charge on many things. Many new, innovative experiences will happen there first. Maybe there only. You can get the sense of the change in momentum of the whole industry investing in that path.

But in terms of what we've done, the number of deployments we've made, these POC's that announced briefly and recently, they all give us good data that says we're on the right path. We need to refine, but it's the right place to be investing in at least part of the architecture that's needed to scale. It's not the entire solution by any means, but it's part.

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