Webinar Recap- The State Of Private CDN In 2020

Introducing – Our Webinar Hosts

Dan Rayburn – Streaming Industry Expert, Conference Chairman at NAB summit

Serkan Sevim – CEO, Medianova

We are going to discuss the state of private CDN in 2020, its applications today, and some of the interesting market dynamics in the world of Private CDNs. 

Serkan mentions that while a majority of the talking for private CDNs is around video streaming, there are applications of CDN outside the video streaming as well. 

The Private CDN approach is becoming an important aspect for the future of many business models, especially for those in the media industry & OTT service providers, and hence they are working on coming up with the right deployment strategy. 

We did a survey, where we asked 321 different broadcasters, content owners, OTT providers how they are using CDNs and other delivery services in the market, and how satisfied they are with different aspects of the video workflow, especially delivery. 

According to our responders, the two biggest challenges mentioned were related to performance (metrics change from company to company) and monetization. 

Today, performance pertains to how it is perceived by the end-user. Customer experience is the product and optimizing for the end-user experience has become critically important. 

Managing performance has become different and difficult in today’s market, with so many different devices, with each device operating in different bit rates and different formats. Today, end-users have even come to expect TV-like experiences

It has been more than 20 years since CDN emerged in the market, and certainly, the requirements and expectations from the solution have become quite mature over the years. Today, companies deploying the CDN solutions want the best in class performance delivered in the emerging markets as well as the older markets. 

Every major OTT provider is using a multi-CDN strategy. Except for a handful of major companies like Netflix, which have built it themselves, companies that use a multi-CDN, generally have 2-6 third party multi-CDN partners. This makes it highly competitive, with the clients open to switching to different providers at short notice. So, we asked why mid-tier OTT providers make the switch. A surprise was that Faster and Agile support is 2nd most important. 

What Kind Of Support Are The People Looking For?

Serkan says for companies looking to deploy CDN solutions, there is a large and complex value chain from the origin, encoding, transporting, packaging, VRM, to delivery. With these OTT companies targeting multiple countries, and geographies with high quality streaming output, it is really challenging and these companies need a reliable partner(support) in terms of support. Hence, reliable support is a key differentiation in today’s market. 

For CDN service providers, it means that they have to be active 24*7 and show strong commitment towards their clients; and this will serve as a huge differentiation in the market. For example, at Medianova we are moving our customer queries to our slack channel so that they can chat directly with the support engineers.

With the difficult ecosystem existing in the marketplace, vendors and clients have to work hand in hand to provide exceptional value in terms of performance to the end-users, while also remaining cost-effective. 

We tried to understand what are the challenges that they are facing. Companies that are deploying CDN solutions are majorly concerned about having to shelve out the extra costs, followed by the performance – QoE. 

But before we talk about the performance concerns, we need to define how customers can measure performance? Since the definition will differ from business to business and industry to industry, depending upon the operating business model. Hence, as a CDN service provider, you need to figure out and understand what way they define it? 

Serkan says that today, there has emerged a large number of 3rd party video monitoring services in the market, such as mpower, cedexis, cachepoint; and these are witnessing increasing adoption, as they provide valuable and actionable data points to help OTT companies monitor the real-time performance and actual delivery experience from the end-user stand-point. 

Serkan also notes that the reason we offer private CDN services to OTT providers because we see that these companies are asking some new questions – How can they keep the valuable content at the edge of the cache? How can they have the single-tenant platforms which can be customized? Can they accelerate the content performance at the edge through applications in machine learning, running containers, and optimizing the delivery for different regions, traffic, etc.? 

CDN providers are offering new ways to use the cache at the edge to increase performance. Companies are asking if the service providers can run machine learning at the edge, API acceleration, encoding, packaging, VMs at the edge. 

Some interesting dynamics are developing in the market – For example, customers today want more features but are not really willing to pay more – because in many cases they have not even figured out their business model entirely. 

Dan recommends that to successfully navigate these changing market dynamics, and emerge on top; there needs to be a blend between customer understanding of realistic prices that they need to pay for services, and at the same time CDN providers need to work with customers to understand their business model. Serkan suggests that customer today want to add more and more features

How Does a Private CDN Fit Into The Picture?

An interesting use case that has emerged in the market today is that some companies are going for a Multi CDN approach, with the different CDNs serving differing use cases in performance, region-specific delivery, or specific subtasks like only image optimization, or only content delivery. 

A private CDN architecture should have a CDN switcher that can route the traffic dynamically to another CDN in case the performance is down somewhere. 

What Are Some Of The Important Private CDN Use Cases?

The market has changed a lot and the applications of CDN have also changed a great deal. 

Serkan suggests that today technology has advanced so far, and in this world of cloud and serverless architecture, many services can be built on top of the platform. What we hear from the customers, once we build the platform is how they can use the platform to run their own containers and Virtual Machines, how can they run machine learning algorithms on this, how can the platform make the mobile apps faster

Keeping data secure has become important. Customers don’t want to send their data to 3rd party applications. Also since the end-users expect a high-quality TV-like user experience, and it will help to reduce churn, this is becoming important. 

Benefits Of Private CDN

Dan suggests, Private CDN is not a one-size-fits-all approach. 

  • Customizable based on content and business needs
  • Provides better user experience and cost control
  • Can be run together with Cloud CDNs
  • Software-defined, flexible and agile

Platform and content delivery has to be agile and adaptable and respond to changing business models – for example from SVOD to TVOD, or anything else.

Q&A

If a customer has a hybrid model -private CDN with a 3rd party CDN, 70- 80% traffic to keep in that private CDN. When starting off, it takes 4-5 months to scale to this number. OTT companies like to have control to build PoPs and it may take a couple of years to get to the multi-geography

Two or three ways customers are measuring ROI from private CDN

Flat fee for management and license, cost for network – calculate traffic value and compare it to the actual CDN cost.

 

If you prefer the video/audio format, you can download the full Webinar for free from here.

 

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