March Madness Boosts Akamai

Analyst: NCAA tournament webcasts are the latest reminder of how growth in online video will boost Akamai's bottom line.

The NCAA basketball championship tournament is upon us once again. As fans labor over office pool bracket sheets, a securities analyst reminds us that March Madness is about more than just basketball. It's also about online video - tons of it, broadcast by CBS Sportsline and traveling across the Internet via Akamai's content distribution network.

Analyst Brent Bracelin of Pacific Growth notes that online ad sales for CBS's on-demand broadcast of NCAA tournament games have doubled from last year. All told, 56 tournament games will be webcast for free. Bracelin sees this as just one indicator of growth in monetized content over the Akamai (AKAM) network, and bodes well for the company's bottom line. He boosted his 2007 revenue forecast to $625 million from $617 million and now sees EPS of $1.30 a share, up from $1.27. In trading this week, Akamai shares have advanced more than $2 to $52.58 a share.

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