CDN Market Getting Crowded: Now Tracking 28 Providers In The Industry

No matter what some analysts may want you to believe, the CDN segment
of the market shows no signs of slowing down and there exists a continued demand for
delivery of all shapes and sizes. A year ago, I was tracking about 15 delivery providers in the market. As of today, there are now at least 28 providers for online video delivery be it via streaming, progressive download, P2P or hybrid solutions. At least 6 of the providers on the list below are putting out major announcements in the next 2 weeks and at least half of the ones below all have major announcements in the pipeline. The fourth quarter of this year is going to be filled with announcements from CDNs with large customer wins, new buildouts, new types of delivery services, enhanced reporting products and hybrid delivery solutions.

That being said, over time, all of these providers won’t be able to stand on their own and 18-24 months from now, the CDN industry will once again see a round of consolidation in the market. But until that happens, as more customers flood the market, bitrates keep increasing, content becomes long-form, and more devices are being used for video playback, customer will have a lot of options in the market – especially with the VC money still flowing into the CDN space. As for providers listed below, I am not comparing them as being equal to one another as there are many differences between all of them. Every provider has different strengths and weakness all based on what a customer needs. This is just a list of those providers and is not a comparison of companies based on size, technology, geographic reach etc.

In alphabetical order the delivery networks are:

Those not included on the list are companies who make products for the delivery networks, providers who are going after small businesses, or those who re-sell one of the providers above. In addition to the above, there are two or three companies not listed who are contemplating entering the space in 2008. So next year, we may well have over 30 providers.

  • http://www.powerstream.net Paul M. Grinnell

    I find it odd PowerStream was not listed seeing we’ve been delivering streaming content since 1998, in multiple formats and without VC.

  • b

    Full disclosure: Dan makes money consulting for people just getting into the CDN market. It’s to his advantage to make the market look more complicated than it is. I’ve never heard of half these companies and, after reading this article, I’ll never hear their names again.

  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    It never ceases to amaze me how some people comment on topics they know nothing about, let alone posting without their name. Of the 28 companies I list, none of them have ever paid me any money for any work, except for 1 out of the 28. You may have never heard of half the companies on this list, but that does not mean they don’t exist in the industry – and creating a list of vendors does not make the market “complicated.”
    And StreamingMedia.com is all about FREE information, no matter who the company is. It’s even on our home page “Contact us today for FREE assistance at help@streamingmedia.com or (917) 523-4562.”

  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    Hi Paul,
    Powerstream is not included on the above list since it is not a CDN and your hosting packages start at $20 a month. While there are a lot more service providers in the market than those I list above, I listed those, including Powerstream, in a different post talking about regional service providers at: http://blog.streamingmedia.com/the_business_of_online_vi/2007/04/comprehensive_l.html

  • random_graph

    The “P2P” descriptor is incomplete. Like server-based CDNs they support “download” or “stream”. Maybe in the next round.
    Also, you might want to add Synccast/Technicolor, Roxbeam, and Abacast.

  • http://www.powerstream.net Paul M. Grinnell

    Dan,
    Thank you for your clarification and definition of a CDN. “PowerStream is not included on the above list since it is not a CDN and your hosting packages start at $20 a month.”
    I was unaware CDN hosting packages must meet a certain pricing criteria. I thought a Content Delivery Network was an “organization that delivers Web data (including streaming media) via an intelligent distributed network.” I suppose four data centers using load balanced and redundant servers peered with seven tier one Internet providers doesn’t qualify.
    We do however appreciate our inclusion as a regional service provider. Thank you.

  • http://www.ramprate.com Steve lerner

    ATT ICDS?
    Verio CDN?
    Also one of your caveats may be that these are only CDNs who are able to delivery video… Web caching, as a criteria of CDN, isn’t part of your tracking list… After all this is the Business of Video…

  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    Hey Paul, you raise a valid question, what determines who is called a “CDN”? What are the metrics people use? In all honesty, there is no right or wrong answer. I agree that any network that delivers content is a CDN. But amongst our own industry peers, the media, analysts and investors, CDNs are typically referred to as companies who deliver static and video content from multiple locations around the globe and are going after large deals. Typically a CDN has a monthly commitment of at least $1,000, if no more, and does not take on customers below that threshold. So CDNs that go after small and medium sized business I classify as “regional service Providers”. Maybe it is the wrong term, but we need to use something in the market to show the difference between a company who has a $20 a month hosting package and a company who has an average customer spending $5,000 a month on a package. If there is a better way to distinguish between the two, I am open to any suggestions. Thanks.

  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    Good point Steve. I am looking at CDNs that deliver at least video. If they just deliver apps, SAAS, etc… they are a CDN, but not one that I track and typically not referred to as a CDN in the industry. Right or wrong, it appears that most people now associate the term CDN with some form of rich media content.
    As for AT&T, I have never heard of a single customer that uses them, have never seen them put out a press release about their CDN product offering of any kind and have never met anyone from AT&T representing the CDN offering at any show, seminar or gathering in the industry – ever. If they exist with a real CDN product offering for video, I’m pretty sure that almost no one knows anything about it. Verio, I’ve never seen them mentioned with delivery when it comes to video.

  • Industry observer

    Dan, the least you could do is filter out companies that don’t have over $5mm in revenues–and put them in a separate list.
    My guess is you’d be left with 5 companies in the majors category, and the rest in the “starters” category. That would also give you a sense of who is going to be standing at the end of the consolidation, and who are the guys currently duking it out.

  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    If you want to post anonymously that is fine. But you should know that when you post, TypePad shows the IP this is coming from, in this case Akamai.
    Filter it based on what data? All I can do is “guess” who has more than $5 million since most of those on the list are private and don’t give out numbers. But, if I had to guess, over half of the names on this list are doing more than $5 million in revenue. But you’re missing the point.
    As I say in the original post, this not about a comparing one provider to another. It is simply a list of providers. You can’t compare all 28 of these vendors to one another. Some aren’t even in the same regions of the world and don’t offer the same kinds of delivery technology. The reason for the list is to show the market who is here. So some may be starters and some may have been around for years, but I don’t think that means I have to keep them in different lists. Even the big guys started out small.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/JPGarland/ Joe Garland

    What is the import of firms, such as MySpace, taking material inhouse, as you observed in a comment on Silicon Alley Insider, http://www.alleyinsider.com/2007/08/myspace-dumps-l.html ?

  • http://www.streamguys.com Jonathan Speaker

    I am not sure I agree with your listing mechanism either Dan. If you are being point and the spokesman for our industry, your words being picked up on the wire and listed in other industry posts like Silicon Alley, I think there has to be a better way of listing. If you have over 500 clients as a client base- if you are working out of mulitple data centers – if you have load balance – if you provide a P2P hybrid – if you are not soley supported on VC and hype?
    How about a list of those that have been operating cash flow positive?

  • http://www.gravlab.com JD Hauger

    Well said Jonathan. I think your criteria for Dan’s listing are right on. I know streamguys are doing well, and GravityLab definitely has a decent sized footprint, yet we’re not listed? It means Dan’s list is not very representative of the industry.
    Just because a company doesn’t publish 50 press releases to streamingmedia.com a year, has plans that small businesses can use, and has a business plan that doesn’t have “Being aquired by Akamai” as a major milestone, doesn’t mean we’re not a part of the industry.

  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    You guys (JD and Jonathan) are asking me to put metrics to companies who don’t provide metrics. How am I suppose to know who is cash flow positive when private companies won’t say and don’t give out any actual numbers? Sure, I’d love to know, but the fact is we don’t, all anyone can do is speculate based on no data to back up their speculation.
    And this is not about press releases, many of the companies on the list have never sent in a single press release to StreamingMedia.com ever. But please show me one analyst, one customer, or one press clipping that classifies service providers that go after small companies as being CDNs.
    Why do you feel the need to have to be associated with companies you don’t compete with? You go after a different segment of the market which is great. Service providers are quick to tell customers how different they are from an big CDN, how they can provide a more regional service, at a lower price, with more hand-holding and you sell them on that difference. Yet now you are complaining that you are not being compared to them?
    I published a post that talked specifically to regional service providers, of which StreamGuys was listed as they are a regional service provider. GravityLabs is as well and could be added to the list.
    But asking me to segment out the market based on a lack of data on revenue, P&L, total streams delivered, number of customers etc…. is impossible to do when the providers don’t publish those numbers.

  • http://www.ramprate.com Steve Lerner

    I was recently having a conversation similar to your statement above, Dan. Many companies want to call themselves CDNs. Many like to say “we have a CDN you can use.” In my old-timers definition, a CDN is a managed services provider who can deliver cached and static web and media content on a network of servers in multiple datacenters, on multiple networks, in multiple countries, using a performance based load balancing system.
    In my definition, very few companies are actually CDNs.
    The term can be prepended for accuracy: a P2P CDN or Video CDN etc.
    But for some reason the term “CDN” has a halo effect, going back since the formation of Akamai, with which everyone wants to be associated. Why? Whats the attraction? If you are a managed services provider that offers video delivery services, why need to call yourself a CDN when you aren’t?
    The companies that rely on CDNs for their business critical needs could never work with a vendor that didn’t have the core ingredients I listed above.
    Costco doesn’t claim to be Whole Foods. Whole Foods doesn’t claim to be Walmart. They are all profitable, they are all different businesses.
    In my opinion, companies should create new categories and be compelling their offerings without trying to bait and switch using terminology that isn’t appropriate for their marketing. Customers will appreciate it.

  • http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/09/content_distrib_network.html O’Reilly Radar

    Content Distribution Networks have doubled since last year

    I learned from Dan Rayburn that the Content Distribution Network (CDN) market is booming: A year ago, I was tracking about 15 delivery providers in the market. As of today, there are now at least 28 providers for online video…

  • http://www.streamguys.com Jonathan Speaker

    I am not sure going after the fortune500, mid-cap market and small business is how you should be dividing this up. I agree resellers of those services should not be listed. However, you list companies that just entered the market, you list companies that are based on press releases. This seems a good place to sort out your classifications. I am not tryin to get in a pissin contest, I am suggesting you should rethink how you are listing providers. The market is shifting, growing and as such should your definitions and requirements be changing? You list how they are not comparible, how did you come up with this list?
    Some of these companies pass gigs, others are way past that, maybe on bandwidth passed would be a good marker? I see your trouble of reporting on this market when we all hold our cards so close to the chest.
    I also dont think that Steve Lerners “old-timers” definition of a CDN holds water, I have had the honor of speaking to Steve personally and he represents a segment more focused on webpage delivery and downloads than true streaming delivery. Is a CDN a http download service or a streaming media delivery service or both? We all work out of multiple data centers, we all have load balancing… Maybe instead of streaming media, it should be called http download magazine?
    Regardless, you are the self appointed spokesman for our industry, and I enjoy the debate and the growth.

  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    Your asking me to define the list based on metrics but are not giving me any metric point to use? I can’t do it based on MB versus GB as most CDNs don’t give out that info. The majority also don’t give out revenue, total stream delivered, total bits pushed, number of servers in each location, for each format, with capacity capabilities etc…… you are asking me to define vendors based on a metric that is not public nor consistent. If you know of one myself or the industry can use, I am open to suggestions.
    Again, I don’t see why a list of vendors, be it new ones or old ones needs to be separated out? And in cases where vendors have not yet launched their services, I made notes to that on the list. Many websites all have online databases of vendors who provide services. We have one at StreamingMedia.com with companies grouped based on the product someone may be looking for. If someone else wants to try to break down these vendors based on number of customers, volume of bits pushed, total revenue from video delivery or any of those data points that are not released into the market, I welcome them to do so. But I don’t feel the need to have to segment vendors based on who is new and who is old. Any customer who calls into a vendor looking for any service is going to know if they are new to the market or not based on many factors of their service offering.
    To answer your question of how I came up with the list, I did so by writing down all of the vendors I could think of for the service, vendors I have talked to, customers who have mentioned who they use, RFPs and contracts I have seen and any other market research I can get my hands on. But primarily I create the list by speaking to all of those on the list and learning more about their business. Is the list 100% complete, maybe not. No where do I say there are only 28 and I know for instance I am missing some of the guys in Asia, but I don’t have a lot of insight into that region of the world.

  • http://www.voxel.net Noble

    Voxel.net is also a CDN provider. Don’t you love it when articles like this find facts from doing google search? I’m pretty sure Voxel.net isn’t the only CDN provider not listed here either

  • Kiriki Delany

    Hey c’mon now guys, lets just have a civil discussion here. I think people were just surprised by the list, because they thought you were giving a comprehensive list. When you state “In alphabetical order the delivery networks are:” And then follow up the list with naming a few exceptions It appears, to you, this is the entire CDN world.
    After some discussion (aren’t blogs great!) I think we all agree there are more companies not on this list that could be a CDN. In fact, maybe we need to define what a CDN is? There are a lot of misperceptions about it. And people from different segments of the content delivery industry with different versions of what it means to them. Some people seem to think a CDN is ONLY something like Akamai, a system of hundreds of cache nodes around the world, working together to deliver content.
    It looks like a CDN is also, technologies too in this definition, as the P2P technologies are listed as a CDN. Certainly Akamai is a leader in defining what a CDN is. But… is that method the only way to deliver content? What is NOT a CDN may be a better question.
    To me, a CDN is defined by strictly what the acronym says. A Content Delivery Network. I propose this definition; would you modify it? CDN – Definition: Content Delivery Network. I.e. a network used to deliver content, usually in the form of media, applications, and/or software.
    Wiki says… Content Delivery Network, a system of computers on the Internet that deliver content transparently to end users. So… by that definition, I would argue any company that delivers media, applications, and/or software is a CDN. Some CDN’s may even specialize in one form or another.
    For example, A CDN does not necessarily mean that it’s a streaming network, but a streaming provider, is most certainly a CDN. For StreamGuys, we specialize in streaming, and often call ourselves a CDN that specialized in high volume streaming.
    There you have it.

  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    No where in this post did I say this is a “complete” list nor did I say this is everyone who is in the industry. I said there are “at least 28 providers…” all I am doing is creating a list. If someone wants to add to this list, track other providers not on this list, great. All I said was this is who I am tracking.

  • Kiriki Delany

    I think that is well understood and i dont want to argue that point.
    i think your choice of words, implied this was a comprehensive list
    as evidence by the suprise from the replies of people not included.
    But im actually more interested in the discussion of growth in the CDN industry, then who was NOT on the list.
    the point of the article is theres allot of growth right?
    i think that point has been made.
    But were also trying to get a sense of well, exactly how much growth. and… how is the CDN industry diversfiying itself as it grows and matures?
    further to that point, is there is also allot of growth both in new companies and existing companies that may not be tracked at streamingmedia.com, yet!
    if streamingmedia.com is saying we dont track anyone that serves an average client less then $1000 USD per month, then your really focusing on growth in a certain segment of the market only.
    certianly the CDN marketplace is getting larger, and there’s allot more players, of which a comprehensive list would be interesting to see but out of the scope of this article.
    it would be great to also see a comparison of companies in the streaming space and see if this growth is in line with the larger CDN space.
    after all, this is streamingmedia.com and not CDN.com, right? :)
    would you expect the streaming industry to be growing in parallel with the CDN industry?
    what percentage of the CDN industry growth is from true streaming?
    is streaming a distant second place in terms of growth to downloads?
    by streaming i mean true streaming, not downloads or progressive downloads of media.
    all food for thought and future articles maybe!?

  • Brando

    Why is it that the irrelevant providers are in a huff?
    If a major content publisher wouldn’t seriously consider you to deliver (stream or progressive download) their video content, you don’t rate the list.
    Sorry, end of story.

  • http://sramanamitra.com/2007/10/05/level-3s-impact-on-akamai/ Sramana Mitra on Strategy

    Level 3s Impact on Akamai?

    I wrote about Akamai this week, and thought it would be a good idea to add this short post about Level 3s price cuts.
    The Level 3 announcement that they would be offering CDN services at the same rate as normal bandwidth has thrown a lot of con…

  • Jordan Hoffman

    As other posters have pointed out, there are plenty of companies on this list that dont even have real customers, real revenue, real product etc.
    Yet there are companies that other posters have mentioned (such as voxel) that do have real customers, real revenue, and are real CDNs.
    What gives?

  • http://www.BusinessOfVideo.com Dan Rayburn

    Hi Jordon, no where does this list say it is a complete and these are the ONLY providers out there. You say that some of the companies listed may not have any real revenue or customers which may be true. But the list is not qualifying companies based on revenue or number of customers since that info is not public.
    Voxel is like many of the CDNs on the list. They have never put out any press release with any real data, metrics, revenue or customers, so they are not different from many on the list.

  • http://www.powerstream.net Paul M. Grinnell

    It looks like the readers have their own views on what makes a CDN:
    Global Content Delivery Network
    Akamai Technologies
    First runner-up: RealNetworks
    Second runner-up (tie): Limelight Networks, Mirror Image, PowerStream
    Regional CDN Real Broadcast Network
    First runner-up: Streaming Media Hosting
    Second runner-up: PowerStream

  • http://www.severnstream.com James

    All everyone seems to do on these lists is bicker, we’re not listed, it’s not the end of the world?

  • http://www.tatacommunications.com morten petersen

    Dan,
    The global IP network provider TATA Communications has a new CDN. It sits on TATA’s own global backbone. TATA is the worlds#1 cable IP and submarine cable owner.
    Maybe worth including?
    thanks,
    M