From Boston to San Diego, Companies Maneuver to Catch Online Video Wave

4/12/10Follow @bvbigelow

Apple’s recent launch of the iPad has triggered intensifying interest in online video distribution, which seems to be reflected in a string of announcements that coincide with today’s kickoff of the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual conference in Las Vegas.

As if reminding everyone of the size of their network, Cambridge, MA-based Akamai Technologies (NASDAQ: AKAM), announced today that unprecedented demand for online coverage of major sport events—including streaming video—pushed traffic on its global network to a single-day peak of 3.45 terabits per second on Friday. That’s roughly equivalent to the capacity needed to download the entire text of the U.S. Library of Congress in less than a minute.

The company noted that surging interest in major sporting events, including professional golf and baseball, helped to drive traffic to a new peak for high definition streaming video—part of a network platform that Akamai launched in 2009. San Diego-based VMIX also announced today it has broadened its relationship with Akamai by standardizing its online video capabilities with Akamai’s HD Network.

As Wade recently reported, Brightcove, another Cambridge, MA, company that has been a longtime proponent of Adobe’s Flash-based digital video technology, has moved to broaden its online video capabilities by announcing a new software feature that supports the H.264 video standard that Apple selected for its new iPad, as well as the iPhone and iPod Touch. Apple has prompted an intense debate by adopting H.264, one of the non-proprietary video formats emerging as part of the HTML5 standard, and snubbing Adobe’s Flash—the format used by Hulu, Disney, and thousands of other media and game publishers.

VMIX, a Brightcove rival that proclaims it is “technology agnostic” and supports both Flash and HTML5, plans to demonstrate its HTML5 video support for non-Flash devices like the iPad and iPhone at this week’s NAB show. VMIX also is previewing a new video analytics application it has developed that will provide extensive audience information to VMIX customers (mostly media companies) about which of their videos are being viewed—and how often.

“Akamai provides a foundation for us to deliver the highest quality in both live and on-demand video across a broad range of devices,” VMIX CEO Mike Glickenhaus says in a statement issued today. “They also allow us to now offer the very best video analytics to the industry.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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