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Limelight Helps Companies Get Started with Online Video

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For companies that would like to do more with online video, content delivery network (CDN) Limelight led a one-hour webinar on StreamingMedia.com this week. Alex Catro, a vice president and general manager with Limelight and Jonathan Cobb, a CTO and general manger with the company, ran the presentation. Attendees also heard from Lance Brown, manager of digital media for the Kansas City Chiefs, while StreamingMedia.com's Dan Rayburn moderated.

Castro began the webinar with statistics on online video growth (in 2010, professionally produced content was viewed online 72.3 billion times) and gave an overview of the workflow for online video. Creators need a solution that works with their content management system, integrates with their current online efforts, publishes videos online, gives detailed analytic information, and streams to mobile devices, as well. He went on to explain how Limelight satisfies all of those needs.

Limelight lets videos retain their metadata as they're encoded for online use, Castro said. He emphasized that people can input video data while a video is uploading, so that uploading doesn't become a built-in coffee break. The CDN offers three methods of customizing a video player, he said, so that people can match the look of their site no matter their level of technical knowledge.

Castro explained that Limelight can satisfy the demands of high-traffic sites, since it can scale to handle traffic spikes. Limelight also integrates with a variety of ad servers and ad networks, letting companies generate revenue from their online video, and it lets companies set up subscription or paid syndication arrangements.

Once a company's videos are online, Castro said, Limelight offers engagement reports that show exactly where viewers drop off, so companies can learn what made them lose interest. One big asset of the Limelight system is its universal URL system, which gives one link that plays the correct video for any platform or device.

As Cobb took over, he explained that the fragmented state of online video makes serving video to all platforms difficult. The Limelight system works with any content management system's (CMS) output, he said, so companies don't need new technology and employees don't have to be retrained.

When Brown took over, he explained how well Limelight's APIs integrated with the Kansas City Chiefs' existing system. Site members love how quickly video loads, he said, and Limelight's smart embed code makes supporting portable devices easy.

"It just saves us so much time. It's the slickest tech I've seen, when we can paste one code and every device is recognized on it," said Brown.

During the audience question section, several attendees asked about DRM (digital rights management). Castro explained that DRM is only one way to protect online video, and that serving an RTMPE stream with SWF verification means that only legitimate Flash players can stream content, and that those two methods combined satisfied most needs. Limelight can also set up a secure system for downloaded content.

Finally, Castro said that Limelight planned to support the WebM format in the future, but that he hadn't seen "a loud clamoring demand for it."

Anyone who wants to view the full webinar can find it archived here.

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