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Akamai Powers Cannes Digital Evolution

18 May, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Film festivals embrace digital apps to broaden scope and significance

Digitally connected attendees at the Cannes Film Festival (which ends May 22) for the first time had access to movie trailers and related content on demand accessed via apps for iPhone and iPad, Android and Blackberry platforms featuring Akamai HD Network video streams.

To see the app, click .

Cambridge, Mass.-based Akamai, which is an original (and current) backend content delivery network, or CDN, for Netflix streaming, has been working with the famed film festival to expand its brand digitally beyond the confines of the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera.

“This was a new thing for Cannes,” said Suzanne Johnson, director of marketing for media and entertainment with Akamai. “Their goals are to get the experience of the film festival out to the widest possible audience.”

Johnson said Hollywood studios used the technology to more easily transfer high-resolution encoded digital files (trailers) to the festival — a process formerly accomplished in part by DVD.

“The digital element of the festival is becoming more important in communicating … exposure for these films in a lot broader sense,” she said.

Johnson envisions Cannes eventually streaming movie screenings — a practice she said some film festivals in the United States (Sundance and Tribeca) already have begun.

“The film festivals have very strong brands, and just like any [content provider’s] website, they have an increasingly growing audience,” she said. “It’s about the expanding role of the film festival, and they expose more people to these films either directly or through these other marketing vehicles.”

Separately, Johnson said Akamai remains part of Netflix’s multi-vendor CDN strategy as it expands its streaming subscription service internationally. She said Akamai remains committed to bridging the challenges involved streaming feature-length moves at scale over the Internet — including help launch UltraViolet, the industry initiative aimed at enabling consumers to watch and store sellthrough content from a cloud-based virtual storage locker.

“Once the movie titles start coming to market, I think it is going to become very apparent why the consumer should be interested in standards and interoperability across devices for digital content,” she said.

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About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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