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Online Video Distribution Revenue Projected to Double by 2017

27 Aug, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The burgeoning market of companies and services responsible for delivering entertainment video over the Internet is expected to nearly double during the next five years to more than $4 billion, according to new data from ABI Research.

Success of TV Everywhere and subscription streaming services such as Xfinity Streampix, HBO Go, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Instant Video, iPlayer and Sky Go, among others, is predicated on a growing cottage industry of online video platforms (OVPs), managed video platforms (MVDs), content management systems (CDNs) and content delivery networks (CDNs).

These platforms’ combined revenue for distributing video on behalf of media and entertainment companies (including cable and satellite distributors) globally will reach $2.1 billion this year. It is expected to grow to more than $4 billion in 2017, according to Scottsdale, Ariz.-based ABI.

Among the video platforms, content delivery networks are best known in the general public, including Limelight and Akamai — the latter leading the video delivery market with about $475 million in revenue in 2011 spearheaded by a contract with Netflix. CDNs generally are responsible for finding optimal routes for the video and storing copies close to consumers to ensure a higher quality of delivery. CDNs handle the logistics of video delivery for nearly all the online video operators.

Indeed, CDNs are considered so integral to the future of online video distribution that Netflix is creating its own content delivery network. It is developing a proprietary CDN in an effort to reduce reliance (and streaming issues) upon third-party CDN providers.

In a June 4 blog, Netflix said it would continue to deliver its data (i.e. streaming) through CDN providers Akamai, Limelight and others “for the next few years” while it develops an in-house “open connect” network (openconnect.netflix.com). Open Connect already serves about 5% of Netflix data. 

“The world’s other major Internet video provider, YouTube, has long had its own content delivery network,” wrote Ken Florance, VP of content delivery at Netflix. “Given our size and growth, it now makes economic sense for Netflix to have one as well.”

Meanwhile, KIT Digital leads the market for content management systems with nearly $175 million video delivery revenues from media and entertainment companies in 2011. Brightcove is the largest OVP with $64 million in 2011 media and entertainment revenues. Synacor, which primarily hosts websites for cable operators, leads the MVP market with nearly $91 million in 2011 revenues.

Sam Rosen, director of TV and video at ABI Research, said smaller content owners and those wanting social media integration and more basis platforms relay on OVPs, while MVPs are helpful for operators that don’t have the technical expertise to deliver a video service, and want a turnkey solution. Content management systems (CMSs) are attractive to the largest operators seeking to manage all their video centrally.

“Many of these companies claim the same competencies in video delivery,” Rosen said. “However, each offers a unique piece of the solution.”

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