ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Digital delivery considerations for entertainment media

By Nathan Raciborski
First anniversary issue, [Vol. 2, No. 4]

DOI: 10.1145/1037851.1037864

To the delight of content providers, 2003 was the year in which significant consumer demand began to build for paid online content. The momentum was seen most notably in music licensed and delivered via the Internet with hundreds of thousands of songs readily available from numerous legal download services. With widespread adoption of broadband connectivity, other forms of digital content such as movies, games and IP television are increasingly capturing large audiences as well. The challenge for providers of such paid content is to deliver their product flawlessly in an era of cost-consciousness and return on investment demands. This is increasingly being done via a new breed of service providers called Digital Delivery Networks (DDNs), who specialize in making high-capacity, fast response and ultra-reliable online media distribution a cost-effective option.

Industry analysts state that nearly 40 percent of homes in America today utilize a broadband service and are downloading digital files that are growing exponentially larger in size each year. Launching a service capable of routing such large files to these content-hungry visitors quickly and efficiently is crucial to the long-term viability and profitability of any online content provider.

While most end-users may not consider where their Internet content originates and how this content reaches their computer, DDNs are expanding and enhancing services in order to address the specific needs of greater bandwidth availability, faster delivery and increased reliability for companies with an online presence. Unlike legacy content delivery networks (CDNs) that were designed primarily to handle static pictures on websites for faster page loads, a Digital Delivery Network is designed to scale with the increasing file sizes of today's interactive media and unpredictable audiences. This means increased media server capacity, enhanced Internet backbone connectivity and strategically distributed infrastructure deployment to reach the largest possible audience.

But how does one choose a reliable DDN provider and what should companies look for in a DDN? Online content providers can meet the growing demands of consumers by ensuring three key elements are met by their DDN partner in the distribution of large media files. By addressing the very specific needs of end-users for speed, reliability, and the flexibility in creating unique solutions for content providers to address these needs, true DDNs can enable online business models to flourish.

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