Telstra Owned Ooyala Lays Off 14%, Will Re-Invest and Rehire Outside Of OVP Business Line

ooyalaTelstra owned online video platform provider Ooyala, laid off 14% of their workforce, or about 70 employees on Tuesday. This news comes from a memo that was shared with me that was sent to all Ooyala employees announcing the changes. While having to let people go is never good, in this case Ooyala is using the layoffs to re-focus their business. The company plans to re-hire about 7% new employees and will re-invest in their sales and operations groups, specifically for products outside of their OVP product line.

Since Ooyala was acquired by Telstra, the company has invested significantly in R&D for their online video product and will continue to be in that market. Ooyala is not exiting or shifting away from their core OVP business, but rather right-sizing their investment to ensure an equal level of resourcing across all three of their business lines. A big part of the company’s focus is now on selling an integrated suite of products that deliver personalized cloud TV, specifically their Ooyala Flex and Ooyala Pulse products. As a result, the company said in the internal letter that they, “had to reduce the number of jobs in our core OVP R&D organization to open jobs that will fuel growth in our new lines of business.”

Ooyala definitely got a bit too big when it came to the number of employees they had working on their OVP product line and re-focusing the business is a smart move on their part. The online video platform market is not as big as some think which Ooyala’s acknowledges in their memo saying the market is “becoming more commoditized by the number of competitors and large enterprises entering the business“. So making sure their workforce and investments are equal across all of their services, and realigning their workforce around that is a necessary step.

The company has never discussed revenue numbers but in a call I had last year with a Telstra executive, Ooyala was on a run-rate to do $100M in revenue by 2018, which would be about half the size of publicly traded OVP Brightcove.

Any Ooyala employees now looking for a job are welcome to send me their resume, as I often get asked by vendors looking to hire who’s available in the market.

Data Shows Traditional CDNs Are Losing Competitive Edge in US Mobile App Arena

PacketZoom recently analyzed the top 100 websites and compared it with the top 100 mobile apps to see which CDN solutions are dominating the competitive landscape and to determine how much variation there is in CDN market share between web and mobile apps. The data shows that Akamai is leading the market with 35.3% market share (no surprise) with vendors such as Fastly, Verizon and Amazon following a 3:1 ratio. In addition multiple smaller players indicate it’s already a mature and saturated market.

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-11-28-08-pmPacketZoom also analyzed the top 100 mobile apps, including names like Netflix, Uber and Snapchat and broke down the findings by CDN market share, looking for the dominant players. This time around the results show that Amazon is leading with a 40% market share, most likely due to its strong developer relationships. Since Amazon’s content delivery service CloudFront integrates with other Amazon Web Services offerings, it offers developers an easy way to distribute content to end users, hence putting Amazon on top. Akamai and Verizon follow with 14% and 11% market share respectively, along with fewer smaller players which indicates an evolving market.

screen-shot-2017-02-13-at-11-35-45-pmThe key takeaway from this data is that the mobile app market is a new world that’s very different from the commoditized CDN market and one that is growing faster than anyone had predicted. Mobile apps require delivery solutions that have been designed with a mobile-first world in mind, something many CDNs still struggle to do.

PacketZoom shows optimal results with Amazon CloudFront since both solutions are running in the same data centers, which saves the need for an extra network hop to the CDN edge server. Multiple mobile app developers that are already enjoying the ease of use of Amazon CloudFront have told me that coupling it with PacketZoom’s Mobile Expresslane is the easiest and most powerful way to maximize mobile app performance. What’s interesting about new solutions coming to the CDN market is that they aren’t trying to displace the traditional CDNs, but rather make them better. PacketZoom’s in-app technology is uniquely positioned as a CDN enhancer and not a CDN replacement. By removing roadblocks in the mobile last mile, PacketZoom says they are able to significantly accelerate performance by 2x to 3x, rescue up to 80% of sessions from TCP connection drop and reduce CDN costs.

Latest List Of CDN Vendors Selling To Broadcasters, Carriers and MSOs

There have been a lot of changes in the CDN vendor landscape over the past few months, so here’s an updated list of all the vendors I am tracking. They are broken out by vendors that offer commercial CDN services to content owners, and vendors that offer CDN platforms for MSO and carriers. (You can easily find this list at anytime by going to www.cdnlist.com)

The term CDN means many things to different people and is an umbrella term that covers a lot of different types of content delivery services. Video streaming, software downloads, web and mobile content acceleration, licensed/managed CDN, transparent caching, and services to measure CDN performance, load balancing, multi-CDN switching and analytics and cloud intelligence. It’s a complex ecosystem with a lot of vendors both large and small. You also have some CDNs that cross over into other industries like security and WAN optimization, two segments that for the most part, are not included in my list.

Just because two vendors are on the same list together, it does not mean they should be compared to each other at a company level. You have to compare the services they offer apples-to-apples. Some are more regional than others, some are targeting certain sized customers and some only focus on certain types of content delivery.

Commercial CDNs (sell to content owners and publishers)

CDN Platforms For Carriers (sell to MSOs, ISP, and network operators things like traffic management, transparent caching, licensed CDN, DIY CDN etc.)

Analytics and QoS Platforms

Telco/Carrier Based CDN Deployments
We hear a lot about telcos and carriers in the CDN market, but the vast majority of them have built out CDNs for their own internal use and are not selling it as a commercial CDN service. There are a few exceptions like Level 3, Verizon, Comcast and Tata who offer commercial CDN services and compete against other commercial CDNs, but most telco and carrier based commercial CDN services are based off of reselling a traditional CDN, for example AT&T reselling Akamai. This telco/carrier list is far from being complete and needs to be updated.

CDN Related Vendor Acquisitions/Closures
In addition to the current crop of vendors in the market, I think it’s important to remember how the CDN industry got to where it is today. Many CDNs raised tons of money but didn’t have a business model, some only focused on selling at the lowest price and many had technology that simply didn’t work. Lots of CDNs went under, some within a short time of launching. The CDN market has been through a lot of hard times over the past 20 years and here’s a running list of those who got acquired or went under.

Each time I make a list of vendors, for any solution or service in the market, I always get emails from companies asking why they are not on the list. If you think you should be added to the list, please add it to the comments section but note that I am not listing regional hosting providers or companies who get most of their sales from $100 a month customers. Also, just because you are not on this list doesn’t mean you don’t have a valid solution in the market, but the companies listed are the ones I get asked about most often, get mentioned in the media, are included in major RFPs and promote and market their services to medium and large customers.

More Content Owners Asking For Low Latency Streaming Options

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-2-35-58-pmOver the past few months I’ve been hearing from more content owners that are looking for and asking about low latency video based streaming solutions. The traditional live event is a one-way stream from broadcasters to viewers where the average latency can be anywhere from 15-45 seconds if not longer and interactive viewer participation is impossible in this format. There is a growing interest in use cases such as online talk shows, auctions, virtual gaming, fan engagement and online classrooms where real-time interactive guest participation is integral.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking to solution providers and looking at specific low latency offerings in the market and am impressed with the Agora.io platform. Agora.io is a two-year old startup which has raised $26M in funding to date. They are headquartered in CA, with offices in Shanghai, UK and India. The company’s CEO Bin “Tony” Zhao was the first voice/video engineer for WebEx, and combined, the employees they have decades of real-time communications experience.

It’s an interesting company that doesn’t have major brand exposure here in the US, but has amassed an impressive list of customers internationally. While you may have never heard of Agora.io, the service is powering nearly 500 million devices globally, streaming an average of 3 billion interactive voice and video minutes a month.

I started comparing CDNs in the market to a solution like Agora.io’s and found really big differences in how they are designed. Most CDN solutions are TCP/IP based, which tend to degrade badly at 15% packet loss. But since Agora.io uses UDP, even with 40% packet loss the solution is resilient. Its end-to-end latency is 200-600ms, which is unheard of when it comes to CDNs. For any kind of interactive or two-way remote broadcast, CDNs can’t offer a bi-directional low latency solution at this level. It’s the difference between running a successful service, or not being able to apply it to specific applications, which limits its value in the market.

From an implementation standpoint, the service is very simple to integrate. With only a few lines of code customers can embed Agora.io as a white label service into their web or mobile application, with support for thousands of endpoint types. The Agora.io service supports HD voice and video (720p/1080p), up to 50,000 real-time participants in a single interactive session, with the option to extend to an unlimited audience using traditional non-interactive streaming via a CDN. Their technology is mobile-optimized with advanced packet-loss concealment/recovery capabilities and it also supports real-time recording, server-side recording and can transcode and distribute audio/video streams with their recording API.

As we have seen with some of the most recent large-scale live events on the web, traditional one-way live streaming is being disrupted by the demand for interactive engagement. Just look at the rapid emergence of mobile-centric social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter that highlight interactivity with viewers. With that demand and need for more engagement from viewers, low latency streaming options are going to become the future of the live streaming market. I expect we’ll see a lot more providers focusing on low-latency functionality this year as the demand continues to grow.

Next Streaming Media Meetup – Tuesday Feb. 28th, NYC

554821_327218634021249_880501208_nThe next streaming media meetup in NYC will take place on Tuesday, February 28th, starting at 6pm at Tavern 29, located at on 29th street and Park. We will be on the second floor and they do ask for ID at the door. There is no RSVP list, just show up, bring a friend and spread the word! We will have open bar thanks to sponsors Level 3, Haivision and Cedexis.

If your company would like to sponsor the meetup and cover $500 of the bar tab, please let me know.

These meetups are a great way to network with others tied to the online video ecosystem. We get a great mix of attendees from companies including AOL, NFL, Showtime, Omnicom, NBC, NBA, Time, HBO, Viacom, CBS, Twitter, WPP, Google, Nielsen, Facebook, FOX, R/GA, Twitch, Riot Games, American Express, Comcast, wall street money managers, government agencies, VR production companies and vendors from all facets of the video ecosystem.

I’ll keep organizing these every month so if you want to be notified via email when the next one is taking place, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.