In 2014, Verizon Digital Media Services (VDMS) acquired EdgeCast, one of the top 3 CDNs, and Uplynk, an innovative hybrid OVP platform running on Amazon. The acquisition will have some impact on the CDN industry, but more in the media and entertainment segment, where Akamai and Level 3 have a strong foothold. Akamai is the dominant CDN for media delivery, and Level 3 is the largest player in the delivery of linear TV. The acquisition of EdgeCast gives VDMS the asset portfolio to compete with Akamai and Level 3. VDMS is a hybrid media CDN, capable of delivering non-linear and linear content.
- Akamai: dominant CDN for media delivery
- Level 3: dominant player in the delivery of linear TV
- VDMS: up-and-coming challenger to Akamai and Level 3
Verizon Digital Media Services
With EdgeCast and Uplynk in the fold, VDMS has the assets and infrastructure in place to do end-to-end media delivery, from ingest to consumption, for both linear TV and VOD content, at least in theory. VDMS needs some work to do to fine tune its operations, if it is to do big events like the Oscars again. If there is one company that does linear and non-linear media delivery well, it’s Level 3.
Level 3 is a fine tuned machine that’s been delivering live events for the last decade. But for any big live events like the Oscars or Super Bowl, Akamai must always be in the picture. The dual CDN approach is the best strategy, as it adds a great amount of redundancy. As far as the general media and entertainment space, involving linear and non-linear media delivery, it is extremely competitive, as much as the CDN space. It’s not like VDMS is going to waltz into accounts and yank the business away from Akamai or Level 3. As much as this is a technology play, relationships are just as important, and Level 3 and Akamai have developed strong relationship with media companies over the last decade. Now those are really hard to break.