This week at the NAB Show Streaming Summit 2022, Google launched into general availability Multimedia CDN, a content delivery platform using the same infrastructure that powers YouTube. With a presence in more than 1,300 cities across 200 countries, Google says Media CDN is designed to – in the company’s words – “automate all facets” of “content delivery [close to users].”
The pandemic has led to an explosion in demand for streaming content as business closures and shelter-in-place orders have forced people to stay home. According to The Global Internet Phenomena Report, streaming video accounted for 53.7% of Internet bandwidth traffic, up 4.8% from a year ago. Companies selling access to Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) – groups of servers designed to speed up the delivery of web content – have benefited enormously. By a estimateCDN revenue grew 7% in 2020, to $4.45 billion.
Joining Google’s CDN portfolio for web and API acceleration, Media CDN is by no means the first of its kind. There are many CDNs optimized for serving media. But Google is touting ostensibly unique benefits like “industry-leading” delivery protocols tailored to individual users and network conditions. unloading rate.
“With multiple levels of caching, we minimize origin calls, even for infrequently viewed content,” Google Vice President Shailesh Shukla wrote in a blog post yesterday. “This alleviates any performance or capacity constraints at the origin of the content and reduces costs.”
Media CDN also offers ad insertion tools, allowing customers to dynamically inject video content with ads. Additionally, the service is “built with AI/ML” to power interactive experiences, Google says, like real-time stats at sporting events and shopping links embedded in virtual billboards.
“Media CDN offers comprehensive APIs and automation tools… Detailed, pre-aggregated metrics and playback tracking make it easy to diagnose performance across the entire infrastructure stack,” Shukla continued. “Real-time visibility is provided through Google Cloud’s operations suite.”
Google is a small fish in a big pond when it comes to the CDN services market. In 2019, IDC estimated that Akamai controlled 42% of the CDN market. After Akamai, ChinaNet Center held 13% of the market that year, while Verizon had about 5%.
But Eric Schmitt, senior research director at Gartner, says Media CDN is setting the stage to dramatically expand Google’s dominance in streaming video and web advertising.
“Media CDN marks a further expansion of the [Google parent company] Alphabet empires, in this case by marketing the channels YouTube uses to stream video,” Schmitt told TechCrunch via email. “TV and video content providers who choose to rely on Google’s Media CDN technology can expect class-leading scalability. On the other hand, potential customers must weigh the risks of becoming technically dependent on Google for advertising delivery, and ultimately perhaps even commercially dependent on Google for ad sales and measurement, as Google links its cloud offerings to its adware products.”
If that prediction turns out to be true, Media CDN could bolster a cloud division that has so far struggled to turn a profit. In his last income reportAlphabet reported that Google Cloud — the business unit to which Media CDN reports — grew 43% in the first quarter of 2022 to $5.8 billion, but widened its operating loss to $931 million.