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July 23, 2007
Volume 18, Issue 7

Oversi & RawFlow Partner to Boost P2PTV

Oversi, an expert in peer-to-peer (P2P) caching and content delivery solutions, and RawFlow, a leading provider of live P2P streaming technologies, this week announced their collaboration to enhance the delivery of peer-to-peer television (P2PTV). Leveraging P2P networks, the technology partnership will allow broadcasters and service providers to support the growing demand for high quality Internet broadcasts using less bandwidth.

The solution combines Intelligent Content Distribution (ICD), RawFlow’s innovative technology for live streaming, with OverCache, Oversi’s powerful P2P caching and content delivery platform. This means that the ICD server software will interface with the OverCache nodes, allowing service providers to offer clients stable content delivery at higher bit-rates.

Enhancing RawFlow P2P streaming technology with the OverCache platform also increases the robustness of the P2P network grid. Where there is limited upstream capacity, the OverCache platform can boost the limited resources in the network. The RawFlow ICD, supported by the high throughput caching grid, enables broadcasters to benefit from better quality of service for their Internet streaming and reduce their real-time online delivery costs.

Additionally, by delivering most of the bandwidth from the local cache, the Oversi/RawFlow solution enables service providers to reduce the bandwidth load on their networks. Highly scalable, the integrated solution allows broadcasters and service providers to support a growing global customer base.

Eitan Efron, VP of Marketing & Business Development, Oversi, said, "Our partnership with RawFlow enables service providers to offer their customers a wider variety of online TV content, including broadcaster channels and independent niche and user-generated content, with better quality of service. With the extra bandwidth coming from the OverCache, service providers don’t have to worry about the new services overloading their existing network."

Mikkel Dissing, Chief Executive Officer of RawFlow, commented, "This technology integration represents a major development in our product offering in terms of enabling higher bit-rate AV streaming and maximizing the speed of the P2P network grid. The integration of Oversi’s caching and RawFlow’s ICD can act as a booster in the network when there is not enough upstream capacity. In simple terms, you could say that the P2P powered caches work as turbo chargers for Internet TV delivery."

Zattoo Launches P2PTV Service in Spain

Zattoo, the US-based peer-to-peer television (P2PTV) provider, has launched its service in Spain, paving the way for other European incursions into Austria, Belgium, Germany, Poland, and the UK.

The service offers up to 67 TV channels and claims to provide "a state-of-the-art, commercial P2P network optimized for streaming video that is uniquely capable of serving the specific needs of consumers, broadcasters, content owners, and advertisers."

The service was developed by a team of researchers from the University of Michigan, and acquires, transports and presents quick-start streaming video in one browser for all channels.

Report from CEO Marty Lafferty

Photo of CEO Marty LaffertyThe Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) commends Chairman Henry Waxman and Ranking Member Tom Davis of the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight & Government Reform for their leadership in conducting a Congressional Hearing scheduled for Tuesday July 24th to explore potential privacy and security concerns associated with the use of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing programs.

The DCIA has taken several steps to address such matters since our inception in 2003 and continues to seek further advances. We have worked closely with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on this and related issues. We have also provided witnesses and testimony for previous Congressional Hearings that in part addressed this subject.

We were particularly impressed with the Committee’s report entitled File-Sharing Programs and Peer-to-Peer Networks: Privacy and Security Risks. In response to this, beginning in 2005, DCIA Member companies and other participants in the DCIA-sponsored Consumer Disclosures Working Group (CDWG) voluntarily implemented P2P user safety measures. It is fitting and appropriate to periodically review the status and efficacy of these efforts, and to develop and deploy enhancements as may be warranted.

Specifically, CDWG participants have implemented consumer disclosures from prominent links on the home-pages of their open P2P websites, featuring headlines about using their respective P2P software programs safely. Text beneath these headlines includes hyperlinks to more information on this important subject such as:

"The following information is provided as a public service by this participating P2P application provider (by name). Please also read the important Consumer Alert concerning P2P software from the US Federal Trade Commission.

Below is a typical current open P2P Software User Advisory related to data security:

"Data Security - P2P software programs let users share information with other users around the globe. They allow users to view the contents of each others’ ‘shared folders.’ If you have personal information in your shared folder, anyone else using the same P2P software has access to it. Another user could use that information to commit identity theft, or to embarrass you. Please pay attention to the files that you place in, or download to, your shared folder. Don’t put information in your shared folder that you aren’t comfortable sharing with strangers.

In particular, do not put tax, medical, banking, correspondence, or any other sensitive personal files in the same folder as files that are shared via your P2P software program.

Click here for information about how to use this P2P software program to minimize or avoid these data security problems. To report identity theft, or for more information about identity theft, please consult the US Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Clearinghouse.

The preceding information has been provided as a public service by this P2P software program developer and distributor (by name)."

Since that time, the innovative companies developing and distributing publicly accessible file-sharing software have further responded to this issue through ongoing self-regulatory processes, including the implementation of default settings and procedures to prevent inadvertent sharing of private or confidential data.

With respect to safeguarding private information, current leading P2P software requires users to take multiple affirmative steps in order to share files that may include personal data. P2P software suppliers have also affirmed their commitment to further reduce risks and competitively enhance both the safety and value of the user experience on behalf of their consumers and the public at large.

The DCIA is also familiar with the March 2007 Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) report and the more recent correspondence between the Committee and two leading US-based P2P software developers and distributors regarding consumer disclosures, default settings, recursive sharing, un-installation procedures, etc.

As suggested to the PTO in March, we will be pleased to offer the Committee the DCIA’s professional assistance in accelerating adoption of technological advances and related business practices to further protect P2P users against inadvertent sharing of private data.

In our view, because of both the technical complexity and relatively fast-moving innovation in this area, a federally mandated and closely monitored private sector initiative, rather than even the best intentioned legislative measure, will produce the most beneficial effect to the public and to government agencies whose sensitive and confidential information must be protected as a matter of national security.

We currently conduct several working groups tackling a number of issues, including consumer security concerns, such as the inadvertent sharing of files. These working groups can extend beyond our Membership as needed to ensure that the output of their work is widely adopted on a voluntary basis across the distributed computing industry.

The DCIA is willing to create a new working group or to charge an existing one with responding to the concerns that the PTO report has described as may be more precisely delineated during this week’s Congressional Hearing. We look forward to working with the Committee in a productive manner on these issues in a way that will significantly benefit all of its constituencies. Share wisely, and take care.

LimeWire Interview

Excerpted from Slyck.com Report by Thomas Mennecke

LimeWire may not share many things with BitTorrent, but what it does share is its widespread recognition. Since Gnutella’s inception, LimeWire has transformed a protocol that was left for dead into one of the most important driving forces in the P2P industry today. With well over 5 million simultaneous users and a household name status, LimeWire appeals to a wide variety of music enthusiasts looking to discover new music, share creative commons work, and expand the open source community.

Yet the hordes of LimeWire fans are nevertheless concerned about the fate of their favorite P2P client; as with many other file-sharing companies, LimeWire has been vigorously pursued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Despite the litigation that looms, progress is moving forward on the next iteration of LimeWire. There are interesting developments, from the "Mojito DHT," to its integration with BitTorrent, its DRM-free music store, commitment to the open-source movement, and its confidence against the RIAA. The LimeWire staff broke its usual silence and agreed to a limited interview with Slyck.com.

Slyck.com: What is the current "State of the Union" of LimeWire?

LimeWire: LimeWire is stronger than ever. We’re moving the technology of P2P forward with BitTorrent integration and the Mojito DHT. We’ve started a blog, online at blog.limewire.com, to cover new and exciting music in New York City and beyond; expect that to grow along several dimensions. We continue to offer free authorized content on MagnetMix.com, and are opening a music store to sell authorized content. We’re dealing with the lawsuit day-by-day. I hope we can talk more about each of these things now, and in the coming months.

We began programming LimeWire with the belief that P2P would become one of the core distribution tools of the Internet. Six years later, it’s happened. LimeWire has myriad non-infringing uses. It can reliably deliver large files without the bandwidth costs of a centralized server. It accelerates web downloads with magnet links. P2P isn’t going away – it’s become mainstream, both in the underlying technology of the Internet, and in the everyday tool set of millions of users online.

Slyck.com: Many are concerned about the ongoing litigation between LimeWire and the music industry. If possible, could you tell us if any progress been made in resolving this conflict?

LimeWire: I’d like to comment on the litigation, but, as you suggest, I’m sorry that I can’t. What I can say is that, although the lawsuit is unfortunate, we’re confident in our position and optimistic about the eventual outcome.

We’re most interested in ending this destructive conflict. What’s happening in P2P and at LimeWire right now represents a unique opportunity for the record industry, and I think some people in their organizations can see this.

This doesn’t mean shutting down. The record industry has a good track record of shutting down P2P providers, closing Napster, Aimster, Grokster, iMesh, BearShare, eDonkey, WinMX, i2hub and others. This has done nothing to reduce overall P2P use, however. Shutting down one service merely fragments and shifts the user base to other services. Many now are overseas, open source, and don’t even exist as business entities. Tens of thousands of lawsuits against individuals haven’t slowed the adoption curve of P2P, either. They’ve only alienated the fan base. The music industry must find a way to reach and embrace these music consumers. Litigation isn’t a good digital business model.

It also doesn’t mean selling out. The record industry’s recent experiment with iMesh demonstrated that quickly forcing a user base of any size to a fundamentally different service doesn’t work. Prior experiments with Napster and eDonkey showed that hard filtering scatters users just as quickly. The solution must preserve the core user experience.

Through all this, P2P continues to grow. None of the tumult of the industry, none of the shutdowns, none of the conversion plans, none of the filtering, not lawsuit upon lawsuit upon lawsuit, have shaken that growth curve. In the end, it is the users – not the music industry, not LimeWire, and not the courts – who will determine what works and what doesn’t. The users are in control. The music industry needs to work to understand and monetize P2P consumer behavior, not block it.

This means beginning a process of market experimentation. It means working together to build the future that’s going to come whether we build it now, or others build it later: a future that includes P2P and commercial services, and keeps the user in control.

Slyck.com: When will we see LimeWire open an authorized music store?

LimeWire: We’re building an online store to sell authorized media downloads. It will beta this fall and open in time for the holiday season. The LimeWire Store will be available from within the LimeWire program and on the web. Search and download for the store will be centralized, not P2P. There won’t be any DRM.

Slyck.com: What impact will an authorized LimeWire music store have on the original LimeWire experience?

LimeWire: Our plan with the LimeWire Store is to add to the LimeWire experience – we’re not going to take anything away. We think purchase links should appear alongside Gnutella search results, similar to how Google keeps sponsored links separate. We believe a significant number of users will choose to purchase content if the presentation is convenient and unobtrusive, the price is right, and the product isn’t hindered by DRM.

Slyck.com: Could you justify LimeWire’s wealth at the expense of free file-sharing, especially considering the comparatively limited number of "Pro" purchases used to access authorized content?

LimeWire: LimeWire’s core business is selling software. We distribute a free version of our P2P file-sharing software, and offer users the opportunity to purchase an upgraded version with more features, better performance, and customer support.

We’re profitable and, most importantly, this has enabled us to continue our professional software development. As well, it allows us to put up the legal defense that we, our users, and P2P deserve.

Slyck.com: Tell us about version 5.0. What innovative and ground breaking features will users have to look forward to?

LimeWire: A Gnutella program connects to peers randomly, and broadcasts searches into its neighborhood. It can’t find a file outside this neighborhood. Enter the Mojito DHT, a revolutionary new technology we’ve developed for LimeWire. In a distributed hash table (DHT) like Mojito, the peers don’t connect randomly – they organize themselves into a navigable tree. Imagine one computer has the only copy of a rare file, and another on the far side of the network wants it. With Mojito, they’ll be able to find each other.

Previous versions of LimeWire have been Gnutella programs. Moving forward, LimeWire will be a Gnutella and BitTorrent program. You’ll be able to search, download, and share files on Gnutella, and download and share torrents, all together, and all at once. At the core, LimeWire isn’t a Gnutella software project, it’s a P2P software project. Including support for BitTorrent is the next logical step in LimeWire’s evolution forward.

Gnutella and BitTorrent are perfect compliments for each other. Gnutella has had a 2 GB file size limit, while BitTorrent excels at delivering truly enormous files. BitTorrent doesn’t include search, relying on centralized websites, while Gnutella’s distributed search has no single point of failure. Combine the two, and you could get the best of both worlds. We’re just starting to explore what we can make mixing them together.

Gary Croke on VelociX

Excerpted from Gamasutra Report

Today’s interview is with Gary Croke from CacheLogic about its VelociX peer-assisted content delivery network (CDN).

VelociX is the flagship CDN for CacheLogic and provides "a global footprint of fixed infrastructure" with "all the guarantees, operational support, and content management one would expect." The system is optimized for the delivery of multi-gigabyte files, and provides a cost effective way of distributing content, allowing users to control the speed and delivery method of content.

Gamasutra: When and why was CacheLogic formed and what were the goals of the company at the time?

Croke: CacheLogic was founded in 2002. The company sold P2P caching devices to Internet service providers (ISPs) to help them manage the impact of P2P on their networks. CacheLogic is a global provider of content delivery network (CDN) services. With its flexible delivery services, CacheLogic has revolutionized both the "mechanics" and economics of content delivery, enabling the Internet to become the preferred delivery mechanism for large digital media assets.

Gamasutra: How did you realize the need for a product like VelociX?

Croke: In early 2006, we saw the global demand increase for large digital media assets delivered over the Internet and realized the strain this growth was placing on existing delivery mechanisms. We built the new service to evolve CDN business models and technology to cope with online delivery of large digital media assets. Gamasutra: What was the development time on the product, and what challenges did you run into in preparing the product for industry use?

Croke: We started developing the service and rolling out the network early in 2006. Early in 2007 we started to sell CDN services. The main challenges were to build and deploy the global network and the asset-based traffic management and reporting software that goes along with that.

Gamasutra: How has the product developed over the time you’ve been producing it? Croke: We’ve expanded the network into three main geographies (North America, Europe, Asia) and introduced new configurable class-of-service capabilities to the CDN industry, including unique asset delivery, pricing, billing, and reporting. Gamasutra: How have you acted on feedback to improve the product?

Croke: We are extremely committed to our customers and have allowed them to participate in defining the evolution of the service offering. This feedback is evident in the high-level feature set.

VelociX is designed for delivery of large digital media assets. VelociX is built from the ground-up with unique asset-based traffic management capabilities to meet the performance demands of large digital content. The network provides content owners with a seamless, end-to-end managed service for the publication and high-speed delivery of large digital media to mass audiences.

Gamasutra: Was cost effectiveness always a major focus throughout the development of VelociX?

Croke: We’ve really focused on differentiating ourselves in the CDN space with new and exciting features that enable our customers to differentiate their online offerings. Part of this includes features to enable overall cost reduction for our customers. Gamasutra: What are some of the more notable examples of the product’s use?

Croke: We have customers today in the gaming, video, and software spaces. The ideal application is for large digital asset delivery - especially the high performance and low cost delivery of games, patches, and updates.

Rather than having a flat price and performance for all traffic, VelociX lets you assign a delivery speed and cost to each asset - so assets requiring high performance can get it, and assets requiring low cost delivery can get it, all with the same solution. This allows you to save on the total cost of content delivery while ensuring in-demand assets get the performance they need. With VelociX, you can reduce your content delivery costs by 25% to 80%.

VelociX has fine-grained asset-based reporting where exact costs and revenue for each asset are known. This enables you to understand the real asset delivery costs with a simple billing and delivery model and relates business and delivery costs to top-line revenue via simple reporting tools. This facility to let you create accurate charge-back models to business units for actual usage is also a critical component.

Gamasutra: What do you see as the next evolution of VelociX?

Croke: Our vision is to move content delivery from a cost center to a profit center - enabling new revenue opportunities for our customers by using CDN services. In the coming months, we’ll be evolving the service to align with this vision.

PPLive – P2PTV to Watch Online TV

Excerpted from My Digital Life Report

PPLive is a P2PTV network created in the People’s Republic of China that allows streaming video, including TV channels, to play much more smoothly than alternative technologies. It is part of a new generation of P2PTV applications that combine P2P and IPTV. Another similar program is PPStream.

PPLive is free shareware integrating advanced P2P technology to provide its users with the smoothest TV programs possible without interruptions. As with other implementations of P2P technologies, all PPLive users become "broadcasters" when they are also "receivers," thus reducing the cost of program transmission versus traditional streaming. The more users that are online, the faster the programs can be loaded.

Characteristics of PPLive include providing smooth and stable TV programs as a result of automatically adjusting to changing network architectures – any nodes leaving will not affect the performance of PPLive; maintaining low requirements for users’ computer systems and low CPU utilization; stream data buffering in the memory, not on the hard disk; downloading stream data from different connection nodes and automatically finding the nearest nodes for downloading stream data; and supporting various stream data formats, such as mms, asf, etc.

Grouper Goes Hollywood

Excerpted from TechCrunch Report by Nick Gonzalez

Grouper’s completely scrapping its old site and being reborn as Crackle. The new service aims to discover the top online video talent for its parent company, Sony, by offering producers the chance at fame and fortune. All the old Grouper accounts will be transferred to Crackle.

The new property will be a destination video site, consisting of 12 branded channels for different show concepts such as comedy, music, news, and animation. The site consists of a channel guide and high quality 16 x 9 embeddable video player. Advertisers will be able to place 5-to-15-second ads between the videos and banner units on the site.

Crackle will seed the channels with 1,000 of its own professionally produced videos. It will add the top user-generated content following the channel’s show concept (comedy, music, etc.) as selected by the community and its team of editors.

In return, Crackle will reward the producers in varying degrees, ranging from revenue shares to mid-seven-figure production deals. All winners will receive distribution across Sony’s network of hardware and film properties. Sony’s distribution network and 60-person advertising team will push this open studio model beyond anything other video start-ups can currently offer.

Crackle is a big shift from the plans originally announced after Grouper turned down a $10 million second round and sold to Sony last August. We reported Sony would use Grouper’s technology to share lower-quality Sony videos online, distribute DVD quality video by P2P, and allow users to create mash-ups of select Sony media properties.

Other social video sites like VeohTV, with its P2P player, and leading P2PTV services Joost, and Babelgum, while lacking Sony’s clout, could also step into the ring. Increased competition for top content from all of these services spells good news for the burgeoning Internet video industry.

Democracy Player Relaunches as Miro

Excerpted from Download Squad Report by Brad Linder

Democracy was to be renamed Miro when it hit version 1.0. But Miro 0.9.8 is out now.

Technically, this is a technical preview of Miro. But as with most of the beta releases of Democracy, it’s already a pretty full-featured video aggregator/player. While new programs like Joost and Babelgum aim to provide a P2P streaming video experience, Miro lets you find, download, and organize videos you like. When you first launch Miro, you’ll see a series of popular podcasts/vlogs that you can check out, including Ask A Ninja, Diggnation, and Rocketboom. Or you can search out your own video feeds and add them to the list.

So what’s new in version 0.9.8? Keyboard shortcuts on all platforms (Mac, Windows, and Linux); full context menu from Windows system tray; a new "report a bug" menu item; Veoh.com as a search engine; plus a whole slew of bug fixes.

The Future of P2PTV

Excerpted from Philly Burbs Report

Is there a future for P2PTV? A lot of people think so.

Joost, Babelgum and Vuze have player software and impressive libraries of content. Although each of these have slightly different business models, they all assume that you will want to watch a half-hour or more of video content on your computer screen.

YouTube and its many cousins assume, probably rightly, that most people have limited attention spans when it comes to surfing the Net. Three-minutes, maybe five-minutes max is most people’s limit. Anything more - especially as buffering and choppy video tends to be the norm - makes one want to turn off the computer and turn on conventional TV instead.

For P2PTV to succeed, there needs to be an easy way to move or network the content to regular TV.

Products like Sage TV are a step in that direction. But, on the whole, the available technology is not yet cheap or user-friendly enough to get a mass market of consumers to use it.

The technological challenge may not be as big as the cultural challenge. People are accustomed to watching television shows on television; they just don’t think of computer screens as the right sort of platform.

People will, however, watch video pushed through the Internet if they can then easily view the content through their networked conventional televisions.

In that regard, the future of P2PTV is probably less about the player and more about the broadband network.

Investors Tune into P2PTV

Excerpted from CNN Money Report

Do you want Your P2PTV?

If so, you’re in luck. Among the fastest-growing fields online is P2P streaming video content. And that content is quickly moving beyond short, amateur YouTube clips.

Two start-ups among those generating the most buzz in P2PTV are Joost and VeohTV. Joost, which launched in testing phase in April, promises 150 web channels of fare, including original content and repeats of TV shows. Veoh recently began trials of its VeohTV.

Joost and VeohTV are similar, but have one big difference. Joost will exclusively play content hosted on its own service. Veoh will have its own content, but will also let users browse the web for other video content, which users will be able to play using the Veoh service. Consumers ultimately will decide the winners and losers in this fast-emerging field.

Veoh is testing a software upgrade application that functions as a web browser for video only and hopes to make it available to the public later this year. The company says the software offers a simple interface directory of more than 100 video channels, including NBC, Fox, CBS, and YouTube.

Veoh is attracting about 15 million visitors a month, up from 4.5 million in January.

Dennis Miller, a General Partner at Spark Capital, has placed his bet on Veoh. Spark was part of Veoh’s $12.5 million second round of funding, announced in April 2006, and reportedly was part of a $26 million third round completed last month. Miller recently spoke with IBD about P2PTV.

IBD: What is your view of Joost?

Miller: They’ve got rock-star founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, who also launched P2P pioneer Kazaa and Internet-telephony pioneer Skype that get a lot of attention and who have been disruptive historically. That gives them the benefit of the doubt and attracts a lot of publicity around what they want to do.

IBD: Joost is aiming to get its software integrated into Internet-connected set-top boxes. Would that put Joost in a better position?

Miller: If they add that functionality and move to that place, it will help. But you still have a number of content suppliers, such as NBC and Fox, which want to build their own web destination. And Sony wants to move stuff to Grouper and relaunch that. Major network executives are pushing a lot of stuff out onto the web because they want to be agnostic as to the platform. I don’t think there’s any loyalty to one site. CBS.com does not mean anything to a web surfer. They want content when and where they want it. They’re using social networking as a launch pad, pulling music, defining who they are, discovering things through friends. That’s a much more creative discovery path for tomorrow’s consumer.

IBD: And Veoh has a better solution?

Miller: We like Veoh’s distribution platform and technology. And we like its CEO Dmitry Shapiro, who earlier founded P2P network security firm Akonix Systems. We think the player interface is very good and we like the combination of former Disney CEO Michael Eisner and TimeWarner as investors. The group of investors came together very nicely and they have insights into what the studios are thinking and how to get access to content. TimeWarner has the largest aggregation of intellectual property. Eisner, while at Disney, was the protector of the crown jewels and has always been the guy to err on the side of caution. His approach was, "You’re not going to touch my stuff unless you pay for it, or we’ll come after you." Who better to go out and proselytize this new distribution platform? Veoh is also creating a player that allows people to go out and browse the Internet and grab the best content out there. It’s a TiVo for the computer.

IBD: What will it mean when P2PTV on the web can be moved to the TV set?

Miller: It’s been described as the Holy Grail. I think we’re still a couple of years away from seeing it happen. The Apple TV box is nifty, but it’s tied to a lot of what is Apple. I think that, theoretically, P2PTV is very disruptive and very interesting. I still think the Internet and TV are two separate worlds that will blend somewhere in the middle.

Now, I say this with the bias of being a business guy. I’m not a 14-year-old gamer who says, "Hey, I play a lot of PC games, this is a lot niftier now that I can expand and can communicate and do that on my TV set." I think the hype is greater than the reality of the impact it will have.

IBD: What might get in the way of this transition?

Miller: There’s huge institutional momentum against that merger happening. The guys who are the gatekeepers now also control a lot of the content. Comcast, for instance, has its cable systems as well as being one of the largest ISPs. Are they going to want to see that toll diminished dramatically because people can access all this stuff and pay you a single rate for your broadband connection? I think there is a lot of institutional inertia that will make it difficult to see that happen as quickly as people are suggesting.

IBD: But at some point will the Internet become an alternate cable service?

Miller: Over time those worlds will probably blur. People won’t think about cable and the Internet as widely distinctive services. You look today and see your cable provider is also your ISP. The Internet pipes today are creaky. Too much data is being pushed down, so we have to fix the plumbing here. We need to find a way to build better boxes so that P2PTV is a seamless experience and can be navigated in a way similar to cable.

The cable operators and satellite operators want to own the delivery methodology into the home. The Internet guys are saying they have to reduce the power of the gatekeeper wherever possible. I don’t have a crystal ball on what that will look like five years from now, but I don’t think consumers will care if the delivery comes from fiber, coax cable, wirelessly, or whatever.

IBD: Competition is getting heavy in P2PTV. How will it shake out?

Miller: You’ll see some fairly significant consolidation and only a few will reach critical mass, when they can get 20, 30 or 40 million unique visitors and start delivering 500 million content views a month. People won’t want to go to 10 different web platforms to find content. They’ll want one or two. And whoever figures out how make it easy to do, where people can move content around and get everything they need, they’ll win.

P2PTV Push Unstoppable

Excerpted from The Australian Report by Simon Canning

P2P technology that almost brought the music industry to its knees is being turned on the television world, with some predictions that by the end of the year traditional TV could be rendered obsolete.

Viocorp chief Ian Gardiner says nothing can halt P2P.

A handful of companies are preparing for a full-scale, global assault on the way TV is viewed through the Internet, mixing the speed of broadband with the P2P file-sharing processes that helped launch the music sharing industry, and all of it bankrolled by international advertisers.

Joost is the name that has captured the most attention since it announced four months ago that it would begin beta trials of its 150-channel strong global TV network. The Netherlands company was founded by Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the founders of file-sharing system Kazaa who went on to create Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) company Skype.

In late 2005, the pair and fellow investors sold Skype to eBay for $2.6 billion and began looking for the next gap in the Internet market.

Zennstrom and Friis have set their eyes on breaking down international TV barriers by forming the Joost service, and some big-name entertainment companies have been convinced to come on board.

Viacom, Endemol, CBS, Warner Music, Ministry of Sound TV, and Aardman Animation are just some of the large companies that have signed content agreements with Joost. The US National Hockey League and the Indy Racing series - which runs the Indianapolis 500 - have also aligned themselves, signing global agreements for the sports to be carried by Joost.

Joost promotes itself as the ultimate video-on-demand (VOD) aligned with all the interactivity of the Internet.

The video feeds arrive with the same broadcast quality as traditional TV, quality that significantly outstrips that of YouTube, which was acquired by Google last year for $1.65 billion. The broadcaster achieves this quality by using thousands of home computers across the world to deliver small chunks, called packets, of each broadcast, reducing pressure on a central server – otherwise known as P2P.

It’s the same system used to share music files. However, with content agreements locked-in with suppliers and the ability to allow or lock-out regions on demand, the P2PTV system being developed is completely secure. As a result, even in the trial stages, it has also proven attractive to advertisers.

Global brands that have tested campaigns on Joost include Coca-Cola and Nike.

Ian Gardiner, Managing Director of Australian-based Viocorp, helps companies run videos over secure closed networks, but says the P2PTV revolution is unstoppable, particularly among young media consumers.

"The young people don’t know the difference between TV and computers, they don’t know the difference between interacting and not," Gardiner said. "The computer is like a fridge. If the broadcasters don’t react to it, they are going to be in trouble."

But while Joost is stealing all the headlines, two other bids are also under way to try to carve out the leadership position in global P2PTV.

US-based VeohTV is marketing itself as an online digital video recorder (DVR) but differs from Joost in that, like YouTube, the public can upload their own content. Where Joost broadcasts content only from its own sources, Veoh allows people to record content from any source on the Internet.

Also entering the fray is Italy’s Babelgum. Babelgum launched its beta in March.

The initial worldwide broadband TV audience was 300 million and growing at 30 per cent a year, said spokesman Ian Hood.

"We have been very regionally focused in the early stages but are just about to take our message out to the world," Hood told The Australian.

"Currently it is in the beta test stage, and rights owners are being invited to submit content for uploading and transmission to the beta testers worldwide."

Senior executive Erik Lumer says he believes Babelgum will prove a potent mix of what people expect from TV and the Internet.

"It combines the best of the lean-back experience of TV with the interactivity of the sit-forward PC experience," Lumer says.

"At times you can just sit back and enjoy the full screen, high-quality streaming of your favorite content, while at other times you can use the interactivity and social networking facilities to personalize your experience and interact with other users.

"It is an environment in which everyone benefits: rights owners, viewers, and advertisers."

Simon van Wyk, founder of Australian digital agency Hothouse, said P2P will be a game-breaker for TV.

"It is going to be a fundamental shift," van Wyk said. "It’s the long tail where we see the constraints of limited resource go away."

But while Joost, VeohTV, and Babelgum may be bad news for existing broadcasters, their arrival will be a boon to those creating content.

"Instead of having five options to sell your content, you have limitless outlets for content," van Wyk said. "It is going to be a great thing for consumers as well. And I think they are going to arrive pretty quickly.

"If you look at the way consumers have adopted to acquiring content through BitTorrent and making that work for themselves, it a very easy jump for them to make.

"The barriers to that uptake are going to go away really quickly."

Bringing P2P Out of the Shadows

Excerpted from TechNewsWorld Report by Andrew Burger

P2P file sharing is an attractive way for people to create culture and interact with music and film. However, trying to suppress this phenomenon results in driving the technology underground. While this continues to eat away at the entertainment industry’s bottom line, some in the industry want to rethink the role of P2P.

The growth rate for unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material via peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing services slowed during 2006, while use of their licensed counterparts picked up, according to recent research.

Nonetheless, open and walled-off P2P services – so-called darknets – remain the primary means of sharing and downloading music, videos, images, and other copyrighted media. They continue to pose a significant threat to established industry players and, despite at times questionable efforts to suppress them, they will continue to be the favorite whipping boy for the music and film industries’ anti-piracy efforts.

Entertainment industry players must battle against the very nature of the media they produce and distribute. Music and film are shared experiences and new digital technologies enable them to be shared more widely and more easily than ever before.

Moreover, P2P is an attractive way for people to create culture and interact with music and film. Also, P2P technologies are key elements of recent advances in network computing. They are widely and legitimately used by developers in distributed and grid computing, as well as being an important mechanism in the creation of open-source software. However, trying to suppress P2P technology results in driving it underground.

Out of 47 million digital music households in the US, one member from each downloaded, ripped, burned, played or uploaded online digital music last year, according to a report by the NPD Group. Some 15 million of the total number of households downloaded at least one music file from P2P services, a slower 8 percent rate of growth than that recorded in previous years, which is notable given the growing number of digital music users, as well as increasing broadband access and use of digital video, according to Russ Crupnick, Vice President and Entertainment Industry Analyst for the NPD Group.

"Licensed a la carte downloads were the fastest growing digital music category in 2006," Crupnick said. "Unfortunately, for music labels, the volume of music files purchased is swamped by the sheer volume of unlicensed files being traded, whether on P2P or burned CDs sourced from borrowed files."

The number of music files downloaded from P2P services (5 billion) grew 47 percent year-over-year and still dwarfed that from authorized sites (500 million), which grew 56 percent, according to the NPD report.

The sheer size and ongoing growth of unauthorized downloads and file sharing doesn’t bode well for authorized online music and CD sales.

"Even though there is significant growth in licensed music downloading, much remains to be done by the music industry to protect the bottom line," said Crupnick.

To reduce the amount of unauthorized P2P file sharing and other piracy, more anti-piracy initiatives need to be crafted, he added. "Most of all, music studios should continue to nurture and support those who pay to download music, in order to reinforce repeat usage and continue to build on take rates," Crupnick said.

Some would disagree that more anti-piracy initiatives are necessary. Instead, they would argue that established industry players would be better off using more carrots and fewer sticks in their approach to new network computing technologies, developers and music listeners.

"The music industry needs to exchange control for remuneration," Paul Hitchman, Co-Founder & Managing Director of the UK’s Playlouder, told TechNewsWorld.

The previous model focused on controlling distribution and promotional channels to maintain prices and margins, he said. The new model requires rights owners to license widely and transparently across many platforms.

"However, to be successful, this requires content owners to forsake control in exchange for monetization," Hitchman said. "The key here is to follow the consumer rather than battle against him or her, and to support and enable technical innovation as the route to growth rather than resist change in order to protect a failing business model."

Until the major entertainment companies accept P2P and offer comprehensive and simplified licensing regimes and incentives for this channel, there will be the likelihood that unauthorized content redistribution will proliferate, Marty Lafferty, CEO of the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), told TechNewsWorld.

The licensing needs to include all participants in the distribution chain that touch the content and play a role in ensuring that only licensed versions are being redistributed.

"The file-sharing distribution channel needs to include, for example, ISPs as well as P2P clients," he explained. "Until this channel has been properly established so that the file, the application, and the network are all coordinated, enforcement activity will continue basically to be an ineffective exercise."

There is movement in this direction, even as music and film industry associations continue to take much heat from increasingly better organized opposition groups on the web. They’re constantly criticized for ongoing legal actions and lobbying to shut down P2P operations and hamstring free sharing of digital music and video.

Meanwhile, implementation of file sharing continues to experience steady growth in terms of number of users: some 12 million average concurrent users and nearly 100 million monthly on a cumulative basis, Lafferty noted.

The cross-pollination of talent and resources has grown between the entertainment and digital technology industries. In December, BitTorrent, which lays claim to being the world’s leading peer-assisted digital content delivery platform, announced it closed on a US$20 million Series B financing. The lead investor: Silicon Valley VC Accel Partners.

"P2P companies, such as LimeWire and Brilliant Technologies, have recently attracted high-profile entertainment industry executives to take management positions," Lafferty noted.

Some of the most exciting developments in terms of adopting P2P technologies for licensed music and film distribution have come this year with the advent of peer-to-peer television (P2PTV). Among them, Lafferty listed services such as Babelgum, Joost and VeohTV, as well as new technology from Abacast and RawFlow, which provide scalable solutions for live P2PTV streaming.

"The potential rewards of working in P2P were best exemplified with Skype’s acquisition by eBay, representing a multi-billion dollar value creation in the Internet telephony space. The same kind of value creation for several P2P companies will occur in the entertainment-and-information sector in the fullness of time," Lafferty commented.

In two years, file-sharing has the potential to be 100 times as fast and enabled on every single device, not just computers, according to Gerd Leonhard, CEO of Sonific.

People are sharing using wireless networks and kids are flocking to IM – and possibly abandoning e-mail, he said.

"They’re using Skype and IM; this whole sharing thing is going to be completely crazy with mobile wireless broadband," Leonhard said. "You have to license the network."

Limitations should not be placed on computers and networks, he added.

"It has to feel like a free embrace, like water or electricity...there are much smarter ways of charging for service and content," Leonhard pointed out. "Initially, cable fees were $10; now they’re $72, so the potential for up-selling is there."

If the sharing stops, it may kill the music business, he said.

"When the fan/user/listener stops engaging with the music, it’s all over," said Leonhard. "Today, you urgently need a canvas for music and not a one-way product (such as the CD)."

Filtering P2P and Saving ISP Bandwidth

SafeMedia Corporation is bolstering its P2P content filtering solution with the guarantee of "a hold-harmless agreement from any lawsuits related to copyright infringement on a network where its products are properly installed," said Pasquale Giordano, President & COO, SafeMedia.

ISPs are now recognizing that they require a solution that addresses both content protection and bandwidth reduction. SafeMedia’s solutions stop contaminated P2P file sharing, protect user privacy, reduce bandwidth consumption from copyright-infringing content, and provide a network that is safe for the licensed distribution of media.

SafeMedia’s portable solutions safely drop all unauthorized P2P network traffic. They do this without reading the content of files and without violating user privacy. The company maintains the world’s largest dictionary of P2P software characteristics and updates its installed solutions every three hours to reflect changing protocols or signatures of P2P networks that redistribute unlicensed material.

"We believe that stopping the unauthorized sharing of copyrighted files is crucial and can only be accomplished at the network level by isolating the source" of content as it is introduced into P2P distribution.

Giordano also noted that, "Solutions that attempt to read files are easily circumvented via encryption, which is wildly used in P2P applications, in addition to negatively impacting the performance of a network. Our solution is effective with encrypted and non-encrypted transmissions and never affects the performance of the network or the user," he said.

Cookin’ with P2P: Recipe for Success

Excerpted from Streaming Media Magazine Report by Ron Miller

Although P2P delivery is finally breaking free of the "outlaw" image that held it back in the past, there’s still debate over whether or not it really offers all of the advantages its proponents promise.

When many people think of P2P networking, they have a vision of Napster in the late 1990s when people were distributing copyrighted songs to one another in a community of users. But times have changed, and P2P is much more than a means of distributing unlicensed content. It is (and always has been) a very effective content delivery system that makes use of peer-member bandwidth. This system enables content owners to slash content delivery costs, and those cost savings grow exponentially when delivering long-form video content.

Today, with a wide variety of implementations, it is impossible to classify P2P in simple terms. There are companies like BitTorrent and Azureus, which are establishing publishing and distribution platforms on open networks with computers across the Internet. There are also companies like Turner Broadcasting, which is distributing its content on a closed P2P network with a group of known users. Then there are hybrid solutions like Itiva and Abacast, which use P2P in combination with other delivery technologies. Finally, there are companies like Move Networks, which delivers content over a large-scale P2P network using bandwidth from a variety of CDN servers, rather than peer PCs, to deliver content.

Whatever the method, and whatever the definition, P2P vendors need to cross several barriers to persuade content owners to use P2P. These companies need to be able to prove that they can overcome the security issues of earlier-generation P2P content delivery, that they can provide meaningful business analytics information – so content owners can track information about the use of their content – and that they can monetize the entire process both for themselves and the content owner. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they have to develop a seamless and simple process for consumers. None of this is easy, but there are lots of companies betting on P2P as a cheaper delivery option for long-form video, and content owners are beginning to listen.

P2P content delivery suffers from a reputation of being a system that facilitates copyright infringement, rather than a legitimate choice for delivering content. (Whether this reputation is fair or unfair depends largely upon whom you ask.) While this reputation is changing, James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester, says the industry still has to fight the perception. "It definitely still suffers from this reputation. In fact some of the cozying up to companies like BitTorrent is partly a strategy of making sure you keep your enemies close to you so you can see what they are up to and maybe provide a disincentive for them to go back to their rogue ways," McQuivey says.

But BitTorrent CEO Bram Cohen takes exception to the idea that his is a rogue technology at all. He says from the beginning he has always been a technology creator and that, first and foremost, the P2P tool he created is a publishing and distribution platform. While BitTorrent may have been used in the past for infringement, he says, content owners such as Twentieth Century Fox, Viacom, and many others have signed up for access to the 130 million BitTorrent clients.

Monty Mullig, SVP of Digital Media Technologies at Turner Broadcasting System, agrees, saying that P2P is nothing more than a delivery system and it’s how that system has been used in some cases that is the problem. "I would say that P2P as a technology, per se, hasn’t been the problem for content and copyright owners. It’s been the use and the way some services that are based on P2P technology have been deployed. There are plenty of ways to use P2P distribution that don’t infringe on the interests of copyright holders," Mullig says.

Michael King, President of Abacast, a service provider that uses a hybrid of P2P and other delivery technologies to deliver live streaming content, says that a couple of years ago P2P’s reputation became so negative that his company stopped using the term. "We, for some years, removed the words ‘peer-to-peer’ from our website completely because of the poor connotation that it gave, and we used the term ‘distributed streaming media,’ which is the same thing," King says. Over the last year, he says, it’s become acceptable to use the term "peer-to-peer" in discussions with content owners, who are growing increasingly curious about the technology.

One such company is Starz Media, which recently cut deals with BitTorrent and Azureus to distribute its content. Marc DeBeviose, SVP of Business Development Strategy at Starz Media, says it’s purely pragmatic. His organization wants to sell digital content, and both of these companies have lots of users. "As they choose to commercialize those services and start to sell content, we think if the people are there and they’re looking for content, let’s give them the opportunity to do it legitimately because we think it’s the best way to stem piracy and grow our business," DeBeviose says. He also represents the significant change in attitude towards P2P when he says, "My view is that while it’s a technology used to steal content, so are YouTube and Google Video, but we use these for promotional purposes. These things can be legitimate or not. People steal DVDs, but we don’t stop selling them."

One of the main reasons that companies like Starz Media and Turner Broadcasting are taking a long look at P2P content delivery is because they believe it will enable them to reach a larger audience for a lower cost. Forrester’s McQuivey says there are two sides to the P2P equation. "You have to make a distinction when discussing P2P between the active user community actively sharing files and allowing their own network access to become a transport mechanism," he says, "and the sheer technological efficiency you get by distributing the delivery of content across multiple nodes on a network."

Marty Lafferty, CEO of the Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA), a P2P trade group, agrees and thinks that P2P represents the cheapest and easiest way to deliver long-form video content. "First, start with the core idea that P2P technology is by far the most efficient way to distribute rich-media content. The larger the file, the more cost-effective it is, and the more popular it is, the more efficient. The speed of downloading increases as more people have copies of the content. It almost defies the laws of the ‘server physics’ on the Internet. Each user adds to the scale, distribution, and robustness," Lafferty says.

McQuivey says that it is precisely this cost/delivery promise that is attracting content owners to P2P. "Part of what you’re seeing with mainstream media becoming friendlier with P2P is that they are recognizing that if they are ever going to get to the Holy Grail of digital media, which is high-definition video, then they are going to have to find a more efficient way to transport video across a typical network connection." McQuivey adds that buying a whole bunch of servers to stream media to half a million people at any given moment is a costly proposition, whereas distributing across a network the way P2P infrastructure does is a better way to go.

One company banking on that idea is Azureus, an open-content publishing platform and delivery service. Azureus CEO Gilles BianRosa says his company is building a P2P network precisely to deliver high-definition video content, and he believes this efficiency will allow him to grow his company without incurring the cost of building or using a CDN. "We are incurring less than twenty percent of cost compared to hosting and distributing content centrally," BianRosa claims. "We can have an open platform and not charge publishers for posting. We are not literally bleeding money on bandwidth costs every month, because it’s not our bandwidth," BianRosa says.

As you might expect, content delivery networks don’t see it that way. Akamai Technologies CTO Mike Afergan says that while he sees P2P as an interesting technology, if it were so simple to deliver content reliably in this fashion, his company would be doing it. "If P2P were such a slam-dunk argument, we would have implemented it five years ago. We are not staying away from P2P for some religious reason, but in practice, it’s just a lot easier said than done." Afergan adds, "An interesting data point on P2P is how long the technology has been around and, frankly, how little traction it’s gotten over time. I think that speaks to the business challenges of ensuring that you have the right business controls and logic to actually deliver content and enable the customer’s business applications the way they want," he says.

(While Akamai hasn’t exactly done an about-face on P2P, since this article was written the company did acquire Red Swoosh and its P2P network and desktop download client. Akamai CEO Paul Sagan told Streaming Media that while the company won’t be introducing any new product offerings at this time, Akamai would "benefit from acquiring Red Swoosh’s skilled software developers that have years of advanced expertise in P2P technologies." – Ed)

While content owners might like the idea of potential lower cost and content delivery efficiency, in reality, there is still a real fear about the ability to secure content on a P2P network and make sure it does not get distributed in an unauthorized fashion on the open Internet. For some, this means applying digital rights management (DRM) to control access to the content, but the question stands, does DRM control content theft to expand your market, or does it scare consumers away and limit your market? The answer depends on whom you ask.

Forrester’s McQuivey sees DRM as a market inhibitor, but one that media companies are willing to endure. "Many media companies are asking me, ‘How do we make consumers understand why we need DRM?’ My answer is, ‘You don’t and you never will.’ When you choose to pursue a DRM strategy, which they all do, you essentially are going to have to accept that you are going to slow down your own development in the market," McQuivey says.

At Starz Media, DeBeviose says that DRM is an absolute requirement and he can’t imagine putting content on the P2P networks without it. At the same time, he recognizes that using P2P to distribute licensed content could help stem infringement. "Our view is you can never track every pirate on the web. It’s just impossible. The key is to provide a legitimate model to those users who are out there looking for content," he says.

Jim Ericson, VP of Marketing at Move Networks, whose clients include ABC, says most of his clients wouldn’t move forward without DRM. "From a legal-entity perspective, they are very protective of their content and because of the fact that we are acting as extension of what they doing, DRM was required," he says.

P2P companies generally have the view that DRM is a content provider’s choice, and they are certainly willing to provide a framework for it, but most believe DRM ultimately has a negative impact on business. For instance, Abacast’s Michael King says, "DRM is a business choice really. It’s not a technology problem. We can provide as much security as you would like for this, but it will limit your audience," he says. BianRosa agrees and says Azureus will allow the content owner to secure the content in any way it sees fit, but he doesn’t necessarily think DRM is the best path to take. "Our stance is to let publishers make decisions and, quite frankly, make mistakes about whether DRM is the right decision," he says.

In fact, BianRosa believes there is a better approach than DRM. "I’m a big believer in a passive DRM system," he says, "which is one that does not assume every user is a thief. Instead, it fingerprints the file, and it’s a flat file so that you can move it everywhere, but you can also control it should that file come back into the system in an illegal way," BianRosa says.

Les Ottolenghi, President & Co-Founder of INTENT MediaWorks, takes that concept even further. His company will also protect files should the content owner require it, but he thinks content owners need to look at new ways to monetize the content and attract new users, and in his new-world media view, DRM does not have to be part of the equation.

"We are advocating that they take a different point-of-view," Ottolenghi says, "but their economics don’t let them roam freely without supervised management." So he says they are working with smaller independent companies who are willing to take more risks in working with what he calls a "Media 2.0 business model" – one which uses the media to create bundled licensing opportunities such as merchandizing, electronic commerce, and other opportunities such as fan clubs where fans pay a fee for certain privileges such as pre-release tickets or the ability to view a film online before the general public. "We’re seeing a pretty high success rate for companies following this model because they are not creating a friction between themselves and their customers." As a result, Ottolenghi says, the take rate for these types of content is much higher than corresponding content protected with DRM.

Not everyone agrees with this view, however. Starz Media’s DeBeviose doesn’t understand why consumers would even question the presence of DRM. To him, for the consumer it’s part of the cost of using the content. "Does DRM hurt the legitimate consumer?" he asks. In his view, the consumer paid for a right do something with the content, such as watch it for 24 hours. They downloaded the file, watched it, enjoyed it, and it expired. He doesn’t see that the consumer has anything to complain about in this regard. He adds that content is expensive to make, and if consumers want quality content they have to both pay for it and expect that content owners are going to do whatever it takes to protect their investments.

To achieve the level of monetization that Ottolenghi envisions requires that media companies can track information about their users and then use that information effectively for advertising, merchandizing, or other opportunities to make money from the content being distributed over the P2P network. Forrester’s James McQuivey takes a more jaundiced view, however, thinking that media companies are less concerned with monetization opportunities, at least for the time being. "Honestly, right now when people in the media business think analytics, they think how can they track people to sue them if they have to, but in reality, the better way to think of analytics in the future is if we can track people’s views, we can understand how valuable content is to them and then we can figure out how to monetize."

The DCIA’s Lafferty says that metrics can work just as well on P2P as on any other system. "Each file can carry with it a licensing requirement and phone home. Before it plays, it sends a message back to the rights holder to get clearance. Steps have to be taken for a file to open and play." He says a file on a P2P network reports back with just as much accuracy and detail about the path it’s taking and where it’s going as any other file-transfer technology. DeBeviose at Starz Media sees tracking as an absolute essential. "We wouldn’t do it if it weren’t one hundred percent trackable. It’s not just out there. These are all DRM-protected and trackable files, and we get reports of what was sold and rented, typically on a monthly basis," DeBeviose says.

Beyond pure analytics and the ability to monetize based on the information, there is a cost savings associated with using P2P, based on the efficiency of the delivery method. For instance, Michael King says that because Abacast uses P2P to stream some of its broadcasts, it can pass on the bandwidth savings to customers and maybe give them something better for the money than they believed they could afford. For instance, King says, a content owner may be concerned about the quality in a 300Kbps video stream, but believes that’s all he can afford with a conventional delivery method. King says he can tell customers, "Tell you what, with P2P we can do an 800Kbps stream for the same cost." In this scenario both the content owner and the consumer win, he says, because the content owner gets higher quality at a lower cost and the consumer gets to watch a higher-quality stream.

Phil Kaplan, Chief Strategy Officer at Internap (which recently purchased CDN VitalStream) says P2P companies are certainly not the only ones to pass on cost savings to high-volume users. "If something is more popular on our CDN, we are able to drive volume pricing. There’s no CDN that wouldn’t exchange higher volume for a better price," he says.

As broadband proliferates and the lines between the computer and the television continue to blur, it is only natural that media companies will be looking for new markets and new and cheaper ways to distribute long-form video content. This means these companies must not only establish new markets, but also find ways to deliver the content in a cost-effective and high-quality fashion. As Turner Broadcasting’s Monty Mullig points out, "We look at P2P as a pipe, just as a pipe," but because it offers the promise of cheaper delivery options, it opens up a whole range of possibilities for content owners. The problem, says King from Abacast, is the accountants look at the cost savings and drool, but the lawyers look at the risks to the content and put on the brakes. Companies need to find ways to look at the costs and benefits and figure out a way to navigate this new way of doing business. If they are able to achieve this and finally come to terms with P2P, and it really ends up driving down the cost of content delivery, consumers will be the long-term winners because they will get the video they wanted delivered quickly, efficiently, and in a format they enjoy. Ultimately, consumers care little about the content delivery mechanism or the minutiae of DRM debates and whether the content owner can measure its sales effectively. Nor do consumers want to discuss players and codecs or anything else related to the delivery technology. The consumer just wants to watch a movie, plain and simple, and if the media companies build a system that makes it easy and cost-effective for them to do that, whether it’s P2P or something else, the consumers most definitely will come.

ROO Acquires P2P Assets of Wurld Media

ROO Group, a global leader in online video solutions for content providers, advertisers and websites, this week announced the completion of its acquisition of strategic P2P assets of Wurld Media, a leading P2P distribution company whose flagship service is the highly regarded Peer Impact. The total purchase price of the transaction was $4.3 million, consisting of $3.2 million in cash and the issuance of approximately 655,500 shares of ROO common stock.

Upon the closing, ROO is focused on directly integrating the P2P solution into the company’s proprietary ROO VX platform. The resulting offering will be a hybrid streaming P2P platform that will provide enterprise businesses with a stronger, more robust solution for the delivery of online video and targeted advertising solutions. Management believes this innovative platform will improve the competitive position of ROO and its customers by delivering content – including long-form content such as movies and TV shows – in a fast, reliable, and cost-effective manner.

"This acquisition underscores ROO’s ongoing commitment to maintaining the industry’s most comprehensive video streaming solution," said Robert Petty, Chairman & CEO of ROO. "The integration of a P2P solution into our online video platform will enable our customers to further capitalize on the growing consumer interest in media content downloads and the expected growth in online video advertising." The addition of P2P technology primes ROO to deliver cost-effective, high-quality video and digital media to the computer as well as respond to market trends and emerging devices, such as P2PTV.

Ooma Readies P2P Phone Run

Excerpted from Broadcast Newsroom Report

We may soon see an unusual competitor on the Internet-voice front: Ooma, a well-funded start-up planning to sell a device that provides free long-distance phone calls anywhere in the United States.

Ooma uses P2P technology to transmit calls over the Internet via a device that plugs into a user’s broadband connection and phone line. The Ooma Hub, besides offering free long distance, also provides voice-mail and a second phone line. The company expects to commercially launch service this fall, offering the hub for a retail price of $400.

Users of Ooma’s hardware can choose to either keep their existing local-phone service or just use the device solely over a broadband connection.

However, Ooma’s business model depends on a portion of the users retaining their local lines. The service uses those local lines to terminate calls – sent over the Internet – placed from other users. "If everybody gave up their local phone line, then the model wouldn’t work, but we don’t see that happening anytime soon," Ooma CEO Andrew Frame said.

The company’s backers, with the usual panache of a Silicon Valley start-up, claimed that Ooma will deliver ground-breaking features and shake up phone service. "Ooma is poised to change the telecommunications category, in much the same way that TiVo changed the landscape of broadcast television," said TiVo Co-Founder Mike Ramsay, who is an Ooma Board Member.

First, though, Ooma will need to seed the P2P network. In an invitation-only beta-test to begin this month, the start-up expects to distribute 2,000 free hubs to users across the country. In locations where it doesn’t yet have any local users, according to the company, it will provide its own call-completion equipment.

The start-up was founded in 2005 by Frame, who previously worked as a consulting engineer for Cisco Systems and core-router vendor Procket Networks (now part of Cisco). Other members of the management team come from Cisco, Yahoo and Apple – and, unexpectedly, Ooma’s "creative director" is actor Ashton Kutcher, who reportedly helped to design the company’s logo.

Based in Palo Alto, CA, the start-up has raised $27 million in two rounds of venture funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, The Founder’s Fund, Worldview Technology Partners, and other investors.

Music File Sharers Get Boost in Top EU Court

Excerpted from MSNBC Report

Telecom companies in Europe are not required to hand over information on customers believed to be running music-sharing software applications in civil cases, an adviser to the European Union’s top court said on Wednesday.

The case was brought by a Spanish music and audiovisual association after telecom provider Telefonica refused to hand over the names and addresses of its Internet subscribers suspected of running unlicensed file-sharing software.

The association, Promusicae, wanted to identify the customers, who used the file-sharing program Kazaa, so it could start taking action against them.

But advocate general Juliane Kokott, whose role is to advise the judges, said on Wednesday that it is compatible with EU law for European countries to exclude communication of personal data in the context of a civil, as distinct from criminal, action.

The court follows the advice of advocates general on most occasions.

Coming Events of Interest

  • Edinburgh Television Festival – August 24th-26th in Edinburgh, Scotland. Janus Friis, Co-Founder of P2PTV service Joost, will deliver the inaugural Futureview Lecture at this year’s festival. The aim of this year’s event is to assemble a cast list from the hottest shows, the most exciting new technologies, and the biggest TV controversies of the year.

  • International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) – September 6th-11th in Amsterdam, Holland. IBC is committed to providing the world’s best event for everyone involved in the creation, management, and delivery of content for the entertainment industry, including DCIA Members. Run by the industry for the industry, convention organizers are drawn from participating companies.

  • Broadcasting 2017 – September 27th in London, England. What do the leading players in television and new media across Europe predict for the future of broadcasting? Find out during "Broadcasting 2017" at BAFTA. Join industry giants such as Silvio Scaglia, Founder & Chairman of Babelgum for a day of stimulating sessions.

  • PT/EXPO COMM – October 23rd-27th at the China International Exhibition Center in Beijing, China. The largest telecommunications/IT industry event in the world’s fastest growing telecom sector. PT/EXPO COMM offers DCIA participants from all over the world a high profile promotional platform in a sales environment that is rich in capital investment.

  • P2P Advertising Upfront – Sponsored by the DCIA October 26th in New York, NY and October 29th in Los Angeles, CA in conjunction with Digital Hollywood Fall. The industry’s first bicoastal marketplace focused on the unique global advertising, sponsorship, and cross-promotional opportunities available in the steadily growing universe of open and closed P2P, file-sharing, P2PTV, and social networks, as well as peer-assisted content delivery networks (CDNs).

  • P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LV – January 6th in Las Vegas, NV. This is the DCIA’s must-attend event for everyone interested in monetizing content using P2P and related technologies. Keynotes, panels, and workshops on the latest breakthroughs. The Conference will take place in N260 in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center and the Conference Luncheon in N262-264. This DCIA flagship event is a Conference within CES – the Consumer Electronics Show.

Copyright 2008 Distributed Computing Industry Association
This page last updated July 6, 2008
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