Dan Rayburn has an interesting item that looks at recent trends in top-dollar content delivery deals, in which Limelight Networks (LLNW) has fared quite well. Limelight's biggest win has been the deal to be the primary CDN for NBC's online Olympics video at NBCOlympics.com. Significantly, these deals appear to be reinforcing the existing power structure in the CDN sector, despite the recent emergence of new players:
Many of the newer CDNs on the market have been talking for some time now about how they are only focusing on live delivery and how their "next generation" networks are so much better for live streaming than an Akamai or Limelight. But to date, I have yet to see any recently launched CDN win any of the big contracts for all of the live events that have happened or will soon take place. The Olympics, NCAA March Madness, Presidential Debates, Operation MySpace, Oprah's Online Classes, Democratic National Convention, US Open for golf and tennis and the NFL Sunday Night Games amongst others. Akamai, Limelight and Level 3 combined are responsible for doing the delivery for all of these events.
Some of these newer CDNs are picking up smaller live streaming deals. But can these smaller players make their VC-funded business plans work if the "Big Three" continue to snare all the big-ticket deals?