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Case Study: Game On—Bringing the NHL to IPTV

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"We are a major CDN buyer and a big-time aggregator, so our unit price was very attractive to NeuLion, by buying all these products from a single vendor, instead of having a, say, $5,000-a-month contract with them. With multiple providers … $5,000 a month with four providers is a lot different from $20K a month with one provider in that you build bigger economies of scale," says Benowitz. "But there was an immediate flexibility problem that we had to solve for them, ‘I need a lot of CDN during the winter and not a lot of CDN during the summer, and how do I do that without burning cash and without spending more than I need to get that flexibility from a partner?’ So we put our heads together and came up with a unique contractual scenario that allowed them to get one of the finest CDNs out there (Limelight), especially for Windows Media Live but still do that at a great price with a flexible billing solution."

Growing Together
Since August 2007, the relationship between the two companies has matured. "I think when they first approached us, they didn’t realize how easy it is to move a lot of traffic in strange ways if you have the right carrier behind you, which is what I think we really solved for [them]," says Flatin. That said, the CDN is really only a portion of what NeuLion now does on the BandCon network, which offers a laundry list of services that the company continually adds to. Ultimately, BandCon is looking to change more than the way hockey moms watch sports.

"We are looking to build a much larger, more robust network than we even have today," Benowitz says. This seems to be going as planned, as the company has forged relationships with many other Web 2.0 players, such as MySpace, Imeem, Revver, Skype, and The Weather Channel. "We very much embrace carrier-neutral co-location and push peering as the wave of how we believe networks should interconnect in the future."

All of this goes to show that with the right partner, the right technology, and the right price, companies with diversified competencies, such as NeuLion and BandCon, can bring innovation to the marketplace.

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