There’s a little-discussed piece of the video ecosystem that is becoming absolutely critical to how content on streaming sites like Netflix finds its way to people’s TVs: Content Distribution Networks (CDNs).
A recent report and explainer from BI Intelligence on the video ecosystem finds that CDNs specialize in delivering large volumes of traffic over multiple ISPs, varying geographies, and piping it through internet infrastructure. In short, CDNs take the guess-work and heavy lifting out of the complex task of delivering video, in a reliable manner, to millions of viewers served by a variety of different ISPs.
Now, content providers like Netflix and Google are continuing to build out their own CDN networks to cut out intermediaries and better deliver content to consumers and attain more control over how their traffic is routed. The BI Intelligence report offers a high-level, simplified explanation of online video transit, and how it gets from video content providers to consumer living rooms.
Netflix Open Connect already accounts for 13% of CDN traffic as of 2013.
In full, the report:
- Compares the market share and/or roles of transit and CDN players like Akamai, Limelight, Level3, Cogent and others.
- Provides an overview and infographics explaining the streaming video ecosystem.
- Explains the role and underlying economics of settlement free peering, content distribution networks (CDNs), and transit providers.
- Compares the pricing models underlying each of these different mechanisms for routing video traffic.
- Lays out the landscape of “last-mile” Internet service providers (ISPs).
- Looks at why it is important to understand the role of peering agreements in understanding the net neutrality debate.
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