P2P, Streaming and CDNs: What Will Really Work?

From the wondering-out-loud dept. comes this question: Is peer-to-peer (P2P) technology on the verge of radically changing the content-delivery marketplace? And if so, what does that mean for both content producers and content delivery networks — more opportunity, or threatened business models, or both all around?

While there’s no single news nugget to point to emphatically, a series of recent announcements, posts and observations all seem headed in the direction of a big collision between traditional CDNs, P2P technology and streaming video. Out of the pileup, we see the following questions that don’t yet have clear answers; but please feel free to provide some in the comments arena.

  • What happens to the traditional CDN business when P2P is added to the mix? According to this week’s news from CacheLogic, it means more flexibility and cheaper pricing for content providers. Akamai last month bought its own P2P play, RedSwoosh. And how do BitTorrent and upstart Neokast fit into the equation?
  • Does a combination of CDN and P2P solve some of the quality-of-service issues many service providers were predicting that heavy video use would bring? If so, what happens then to AT&T’s and Verizon’s IPTV business models, which were built somewhat on the idea of being able to charge premiums for faster video delivery?
  • When will Google and Cisco flex their considerable infrastructure muscle to take (even more) advantage of the growing demand for online video? On Wednesday Google took one step in that direction by making video search part of its powerful first page of results — wonder how that went over in Sumner Redstone’s office.
  • Cisco, meanwhile, confirmed its intentions this week to offer such networking services, which we had wondered about previously. Even as Cisco second-in-command Charlie Giancarlo tried to dispel notions that such a service would be consumer-pointed, or have a Cisco brand name, it’s clear now that the networking giant is going to move beyond boxes — but what does that mean to all its service-provider customers?
  • What are the new business models that better content delivery technology could enable, beyond Joost, Justin.TV and Ustream?
  • As you are crafting your opinions, some more P2P/CDN nuggets:

    — Most BitTorrent traffic is TV shows, not movies. (TorrentFreak)
    — Online media requires a hybrid approach? (Streaming Media)
    — New Flash Player will enable P2P for .FLV clips. (Beet.TV)
    — Can Joost overcome Infrastructure Problems? (NewTeeVee)
    — CDN Startups Talk Tough (Light Reading)

    So what do you think?

    {democracy:4}
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