The Colliding World of CDN and Broadcast

The CDN and Broadcast Industry collided in 2013. Akamai, the largest pure-play CDN battled with Level 3, a leading Telco CDN with broadcast assets. In 2014, Verizon joins the fight with its recent acquisition.

Now, there are two major Telco CDN’s with broadcast assets battling Akamai, who has no broadcast assets. Broadcasting capabilities include fiber network supporting SDI and ASI, teleports supporting live coverage, signal acquisition via satellite, native network support for MPEG 2, MPEG 4 and JPEG 2000.

The goal of the Telco CDN is to steal customers away from Akamai. How does Akamai compete against these two major Telco CDNs? Should it invest in a fiber network, contract with satellite providers, or make a major acquisition to round out its video cloud ecosystem, as some suggest it should do.

I don’t think it should any of those things right now, especially with its recent acquisition of Prolexic. Akamai is savvy company. Just look who’s on their payroll , many ex-employees from Level 3 and Verizon. These folks bring first-hand broadcast experience to Akamai. And they usually come with fresh new ideas.

Let’s also keep in mind that the broadcast industry is going through a major upheaval and prices are dropping significantly. IP is one of the culprits. The Cisco DCM Video IP Gateway, and others similar appliances makes it possible to deliver uncompressed SD, HD & JPEG 2000 over IP. No need to pay the high prices associated with ASI/SDI.

Akamai should let it play out for a while. Then, if there is any threat to its business, they can make a move and buy someone. Besides that, there are more interesting startups not in the broadcast space.