Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Skytide Sees Big Changes Within the CDN Market, Releases Insight 2.0 Reporting & Analytics Solution for CDN Providers and Resellers

Skytide is a software-as-a-service company that provides reporting and analytics solutions for online video publishers and Content Delivery Networks. Today, the Oakland, California-based company announced the "next generation" of its Insight for CDNs reporting and analytics platform, upgraded to support what Skytide sees as "the innovative business models proliferating among CDN providers and resellers". Skytide has been around since 2004, and recently won a 2009 Streaming Media Readers' Choice Award for its Skytide Insight for Flash Video Players video analytics solution that combines viewer engagement and quality of service (QoS) metrics. Skytide's patented digital media performance management solutions pull high volume data from disparate data sources — like web analytics data, CDN logs and online video ad data — and integrates them into a single dashboard to help companies see the big picture of how their company works, and how the different parts are interrelated to each other.

According to Roy Peterkofsky, Skytide's VP of Product Management, it's all about resource allocation. Companies that publish and deliver online video need more advanced analytics that clearly detail how their content is used, in order to maximize their online video investments. While it's great to know about viewer engagement and quality of service, it's even better to know how quality of service affects viewer engagement – and how viewer engagement drives revenue, or sometimes not. I recently spoke with Roy about the latest release of Insight 2.0 and the significant changes his company is seeing within the content delivery space.

Roy said that:
    "One of the things we're seeing is really a change in the whole digital media supply chain – where a lot of companies are going to be entering the CDN space and doing so with innovative business models. So probably 6 months or a year ago, everybody thought the CDN market was commoditizing and was going to consolidate and there's only going to be two or three or four big ones left – but interestingly enough for various reasons we're seeing a lot of new companies enter the field, often they're Telcos.

    Telcos, they really own the network that the Akamais and Limelights of the worlds are operating under. So, flashback to 10 years ago to Web 1.0, the original dot-com boom, the disintermediation was big then because it was all about using the web to eliminate middle men. So if you're a Telco and you've got the Akamais and Limelights of the world making money off of your network, wouldn't you want to know – why can't I be taking the margin for myself? Why don't I disintermediate that CDN?" 
    But the way Skytide sees it – it goes way beyond that, and it's really a dramatic change and disruption within the ecosystem with cable operators wanting to do TV Everywhere, Telcos moving into the CDN business, the rise of P2P networks, and what used to be an ISP can be a CDN,  or a CDN can be a conent aggregator and what used to be a publisher can be a pure content factory without its own website. Skytide is seeing it all and working with many companies that have projects that are so secret, they don't even know about them yet but they are providing the reporting and analytics for many of them.

    Skytide President & CEO, Michael O’Donnell also pointed out that “seismic changes are afoot in the content delivery arena" and that Skytide's new offering will help those companies emerging to challenge CDNs hold on the content delivery market. He said:
    "Those entering the space will need a reporting & analytics solution that can accommodate evolving business models and handle the massive amounts of data that CDNs generate — something that Skytide is uniquely capable of handling out of the box.”
    Among the new Skytide Insight Version 2.0 features are:
    • Custom Dimensions: Content delivery networks, CDN resellers and their customers and business partners can now measure traffic distribution by any desired attribute; for example, by content categories, customer types or service types.
    • ISP / Business Partner Portal: Content delivery networks and resellers can stay on top of rapidly changing business models by providing business partners - like bandwidth suppliers, content owners or syndicators - with their very own reporting portals.
    These new features augment Skytide's existing CDN reporting & analytics capabilities, including more than 144 distinct reports that can be used to isolate and correct service quality issues, forecast traffic and provision capacity, justify pricing and ensure accurate billing.

    Not all data that CDNs provide to their customers is accurate, and Skytide has found that in some cases that data is incorrect. Roy cited a few examples where data from their system when compared to an unnamed CDN, helped in one case, improve video start up times of content in a certain Asian country that had been unnecessarily rerouted through a POP in an entirely different continent. In another case, a certain type of content that was licensed only in the U.S. found that 20% of the views came from outside the U.S. Skytide's data helped the customer close the leak of the geo-blocked content that this specific CDN missed.

    Stay tuned for part two of my interview with Roy Peterkofsky where he further the discusses the changing CDN space, and how publishers can benefit from analytics to better monetize their businesses.

    About Skytide
    Founded in 2004, Skytide provides Digital Media Performance Management to leading digital media companies and content delivery providers with the most complete view of their operations, delivering the information necessary to make better-informed business decisions. Only Skytide's software-as-a-service and on-premise solutions can process massive amounts of disparate data sources - including CDN log files, ad insertion logs, and web analytics data - and consolidate them into a single 360° view. Skytide is venture-backed and works with leading digital media and technology companies including: Accenture subsidiary, Origin Digital; Cisco; Clear Channel Communications; Comcast subsidiary, thePlatform; IBM; MTV Networks and Qwest. Press Contact: Patrick Hurley, 510-435-9865 phurley@skytide.com
    Skytide has a series of white papers that you can request on download here.