Level 3 (LVLT), which continues to sharpen its focus on the content delivery market, is launching a new service combining mass storage and content delivery for audio and video portals. The new product offering, Content Delivery for Extended Libraries (CDXL), will be of particular interest to sites with large libraries of user-generated digital content. CDXL allows audio and video hosting sites to outsource their storage, and use Level 3's content delivery technology to monetize "long tail" archived content that suddenly becomes popular.
A particular challenge for these portals is recognizing that a piece of older content has suddenly "gone viral" and is generating unexpected demand. "Our system can instantly detect that a piece of content has become popular, and move it to the edge of the network," said Ric Poland, Director of Product Management for the Content Markets Group at Level 3.
"Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) are transforming how people gain access to rich media, and the network has to be about more than moving lots of bits quickly," said Gerry Kaufhold, principal analyst with In-Stat. "Level 3's Content Delivery for Extended Libraries brings a new level of network performance, storage capacity and economic efficiency to the CDN market."
Level 3's solution uses proprietary patent-pending "dynamic intelligence" that automatically positions customer content based on popularity. Many Internet companies with digital libraries "don't have the analytics to know when a piece of content becomes popular," said Poland. "Many of them are trying to serve this content themselves, and are just now looking at how to monetize this content. There's not a solution out there like ours. Our system can detect popularity over time, by region."
An early user of the CDXL service is the podcast portal Liberated Syndication. "Libsyn provides a do-it-yourself publishing platform for podcasters and new media producers and makes thousands of podcasts available to the public," said Dave Mansueto, co-founder of Liberated Syndication. "Using Level 3's CDN services, Libsyn has significantly improved its online delivery of high-quality audio and video podcasts to millions of loyal fans. We are excited about Level 3's CDXL service, because we believe it will enable us to effectively distribute the podcasts using our services and better serve content that may be targeted toward niche audiences."
"Our customers with large content libraries have been looking for an economic solution to enable them to monetize their substantial digital assets," said Grant van Rooyen, president of Level 3's Content Markets Group. "We believe that the business of providing a solution for the efficient delivery of entire libraries of content, not just the most popular titles, will be increasingly important as online content distribution matures. Level 3 is excited to deliver a solution that enables customers like Libsyn to build a viable business model for monetizing their long-tail content."
Level 3 bought the Savvis CDN network in January 2007, and has since launched CDN caching and streaming media services priced at the same rate as its high-speed Internet access service. In January Level 3 CEO Jim Crowe said that "content distribution is where we are focusing our effort."