April 20, 2008
Volume XXI, Issue 10
P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA Pre-Registration Rates End Friday
Please sign-up this week for the third annual P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA scheduled for Monday May 5th at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, and save up to $400 when you also register for the co-located Digital Hollywood Spring.
This conference comes at a very exciting time for the distributed computing industry. Relationships among peer-to-peer (P2P) companies and Internet service providers (ISPs) are advancing in very meaningful and positive ways, and the industry is now poised to accelerate progress with content providers as well.
Top industry executives from around the world will be converging in Los Angeles to participate in this flagship DCIA event. Please click here for the agenda, here for the roster of speakers, and here to register.
Special hotel rates are available at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. When you call 323-856-1200 for reservations, simply mention P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA or Digital Hollywood to obtain this discount.
P2P Bill of Rights & Responsibilities
The Distributed Computing Industry Association (DCIA) this week announced a call for participation in the new "P2P Bill of Rights & Responsibilities (BRR)" initiative, to be more fully introduced at the upcoming P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA.
The genesis of this project came from DCIA Member Company and P4P Working Group (P4PWG) Co-Chair Pando Networks and P4PWG participant Comcast, which together will lead in the P2P BRR's creation as an industry-wide effort.
The two companies plan to collaborate and engage with other P2P companies and ISPs, content providers, and additional industry experts to set a framework for the P2P BRR to serve as a platform for best practices. Its purpose is to clarify what choices and controls consumers should have when using P2P applications as well as what processes and practices ISPs should use to manage P2P applications running on their networks.
This week's announcements build on Comcast's March 27th announcement to collaborate with BitTorrent and the broader P2P and ISP community to more effectively address issues associated with rich media content and network capacity management.
"Working together, Comcast and Pando can help lead the discussion about what consumers should expect in terms of a 'P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities' for P2P users and ISPs," said Tony Werner, Comcast Cable's Chief Technology Officer (CTO). "Doing so is in the best interest of everyone involved. We hope to get industry experts together this spring and publish the P2P BRR later this year."
"At Pando, we have always believed that good P2P applications give users control. Now we are committing to lead the industry in codifying that," said Robert Levitan, CEO of Pando Networks.
The intention of this project is to help codify for P2P companies, content rights holders, and ISPs, at a very high level and on a voluntary basis, the fundamental business practices that they should expect from and extend to one another in order to ensure continued commercial development of this extremely promising consumer-based distribution channel.
The process of developing the P2P BRR will be open and inclusive. Participation and compliance will be voluntary.
Interested qualified parties, including DCINFO readers, are encouraged to participate in the P2P BRR's formulation. Please send preliminary comments and questions to P2PBRR@dcia.info or call 410-476-7965 for more information.
Report from CEO Marty Lafferty
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week conducted an en banc hearing at Stanford University focused on broadband network management practices.
Its first public hearing on this matter was held in February at Harvard University and included representatives of BitTorrent, Comcast, Verizon, and Vuze.
Congressman Edward Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee, said, "I am pleased that the FCC is continuing its oversight and inquiry into Internet freedom issues. Every Internet user, from entrepreneur, to inventor, to student and consumer, will be impacted by this examination and the wider debate over Internet freedoms and the future of the Internet."
The FCC has several pending petitions seeking actions ranging from enforcement to rulemaking related to the Commission's 2005 statement of broadband principles. And indeed, the loudest applause at this week's hearing came when advocates of net neutrality sounded alarms against alleged blocking of P2P applications or content.
In the relatively short time period between the two hearings, however, there have been several public announcements of stepped-up collaboration among major ISPs and P2P companies as well as reports regarding global test results of very promising new P4P technology.
Simulation studies and field trials of P4P, which is based on research from Yale University's Laboratory of Networked Systems (LANS), have been progressing since last July, intended to improve the efficiency of broadband network performance and speed content payload delivery to the benefit of broadband subscribers and P2P users alike.
The objectives of the DCIA-sponsored P4P Working Group (P4PWG) that conducted the tests include: providing ISPs with the ability to optimize utilization of network resources while enhancing service levels for P2P traffic; providing P2P software distributors with the ability to accelerate content delivery while enhancing efficient usage of ISP bandwidth; and providing researchers who are developing P4P mechanisms with the support to advance and the ability to publish their work.
They further include determining, validating, and encouraging the adoption of methods for ISPs and P2P software distributors to work together to enable and support consumer service improvements as P2P adoption and resultant traffic evolves, while protecting the intellectual property (IP) of participating entities; and establishing appropriate and voluntary best practices for the deployment of P4P mechanisms to meet the above identified objectives in a way that can be sustained by all of the necessary participants.
As AT&T pointed out in its original FCC comment, "While the P4P Working Group may, or may not, ultimately achieve all of these goals, the very existence of the Group and the progress it has made to date vividly illustrates how private industry initiatives can promote consumer interests without any need for government intervention."
At this week's hearing, Commissioners Deborah Taylor Tate and Robert McDowell, in a similar mode, warned against excessive government interference with the Internet. The DCIA supports their view that industry is better equipped to address an area that is as technologically complex and fast-moving as distributed computing in terms of ongoing innovation.
In order to sustain the growth in both user-generated content (UGC) and professionally produced content, new investments in broadband capacity must keep pace with consumer demand.
We also commend Commissioner Tate, however, for trying to develop consensus around the fundamental principle "that consumers have a right to know what they're getting and what they pay for."
But again, the DCIA would argue that this can best be accomplished through collaborative efforts conducted in the private sector, several of which are in process, including the P4PWG and the new P2P Bill of Rights & Responsibilities (BRR) initiative.
Above all, it is extremely important that infrastructure investment be encouraged to ensure that the Internet continues to develop to handle data loads of increased usage as rich media content distribution proliferates.
At the hearing, software quality engineer Robb Topolski objected to the legacy perception, which thankfully is changing now, that somehow "P2P is a 'bad actor.' It was P2P that started the Internet. We can't punish a protocol." Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig testified that in principle the Internet should remain "open and transparent, where anybody can do anything."
Also worth noting was the comment from Jean Prewitt, President & CEO of the Independent Film & Television Alliance, who argued that "copyright protection cannot be an excuse to prevent access to the market." Meanwhile George Ou, Editor-at-Large of ZDNet, reminded attendees that network operators must be empowered to take measures against the advent of "video-induced congestion" that could lead to a "collapse of the Internet."
Stanford law and engineering professor Barbara van Schewick warned that "singling out specific applications and blocking or degrading them is not reasonable network management and violates the FCC broadband policy statement."
She added, "We have all the technology available that would allow network managers to manage congestion on their networks in a way that does not exclude specific applications."
And finally, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA), whose district hosted the hearing, provided this perspective: "There are reasonable needs today relative to managing the network to address congestion caused by insufficient bandwidth. But such intercession into a user's access to the Internet should not result in the outright blocking of content or applications that do not harm the network."
As expressed in our FCC Comment, consumers, ISPs, and P2P companies need clarity regarding what to expect with respect to broadband network management practices. The P2P BRR initiative is one example of a private sector initiative that will seek to address that.
With the exemption by policy-makers of broadband networks from the prohibitions on discrimination that applied in earlier regimes to common-carrier networks, special vigilance is required here to avoid serious consequences. As Vuze has pointed out, "Blocking or degrading traffic based solely on the technology or application used should be impermissible."
The basic assurance by ISPs, within the framework of a P2P BRR or otherwise, that this damaging practice will indeed be deemed impermissible, would go a long way in encouraging P2P companies and other Internet-based businesses to continue to develop and deliver innovative services, and provide consumers with the confidence to become or remain satisfied P2P users and broadband subscribers. Share wisely, and take care.
Talks on Broadband P2P Practices to Involve Many Firms
Excerpted from Washington Internet Daily Report by Jonathan Make
Negotiations on how ISPs, content rights holders, and P2P application providers should handle P2P file transfers on broadband networks are expected to include dozens of companies, said officials who will be involved in the talks.
Most of the approximately sixty members of the DCIA's P4P Working Group (P4PWG) and others probably will join discussions on a "P2P Bill of Rights & Responsibilities (BRR)" for P2P users, ISPs, and content providers, they said. Comcast and Pando said they'll lead the talks and hope to have a finished document this year.
Participants will meet under the Distributed Computing Industry Association's (DCIA) umbrella, said CEO Marty Lafferty. "I would expect significant participation," he said. The involvement of P2P application providers, ISPs, and content rights holders is "essential" to the process to yield "a worthwhile work product," he added. He expects most P4PWG members to participate. That group includes Alcatel-Lucent, AT&T, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Nokia, and Yahoo.
An outline for the bill of rights should be complete by May 5th in time to be made public and discussed at the P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA, Lafferty said. A "finished, published" document should be complete in two-to-six months, depending on its complexity, companies' interest in taking part, and other considerations, he said. "It's too soon to tell" the exact date for project completion.
A formative meeting to discuss the process for developing the P2P BRR will take place Monday at Pando's office in New York, CEO Robert Levitan said. The meeting will include a limited number of participants, including Comcast. Future gatherings will be "open to any ISP, any P2P technology company, and any content owner or distributor," Levitan said. "Comcast and Pando hope to lead this effort, but it is not our sole responsibility. We will just be two of many companies sitting at the table."
"Establishing a specific and clearly defined P2P bill of rights is an interesting idea with potentially important implications for all Internet users," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said.
US Broadband Penetration Jumps 300 Per Cent
Excerpted from SmartBrief Report by Robert Jaques
Nearly half of US adults now have high-speed Internet access. Broadband penetration has increased more than three-fold since 2002, according to new research.
Analyst firm Scarborough Research found that 12% of US adults had a broadband connection in their household in 2002, compared to 49% who subscribe currently.
This increase of more than 300% brings broadband to a "mainstream level", the analyst firm claimed.
DSL connections grew more than cable modems, but both have expanded significantly. Cable modem penetration has increased 188% since 2002, while DSL connections increased 575%.
San Francisco emerged as the top local US market for broadband penetration, according to the report, where 62% of adults live in a household with a broadband Internet connection.
Other top broadband markets include Boston and San Diego, both of which have 61% of adults with a broadband connection in their household.
"There is obviously an increasing need for more high-speed Internet connectivity as it enables fast and efficient delivery of rich media content," said Gary Meo, Senior Vice President of Digital Media Services at Scarborough Research.
"Consumers are clearly demanding more speed in order to upload, download, post and interact with content in a web 2.0 environment."
LimeWire is Top P2P Software with µTorrent Rising Fast
Excerpted from Computer World Report by Eric Lai
LimeWire, a seasoned veteran on the P2P file-sharing scene, remains the most popular software application for exchanging music, video, and software through the Internet, according to a study released Wednesday.
LimeWire was used on 17.8% of PCs in September last year, according to the latest Digital Media Desktop report. Since about half of surveyed PCs have at least one P2P sharing application installed, that gives LimeWire a 36.4% share - more than three times the 11.3% share of the next-most-popular client, µTorrent.
The report is a collaboration of digital music consultancy BigChampagne, utility software provider PC Pitstop, and Digital Music News. More than 100,000 Windows PCs were polled each month, with a total of 1.67 million machines polled during the 12 months.
The first version of LimeWire was released in 2000 as an alternative to the pioneering Napster MP3 sharing network.
Overseen by New York-based Lime Wire LLC, the open-source LimeWire software comes in free and professional versions. The latter costs $21.95 and runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.
LimeWire's ongoing dominance is surprising for a number of reasons. Two generations of college students - often characterized as the most avid file sharers - have graduated since its release. Indeed, today's college freshman would've been just 10 years old when LimeWire was first released.
Moreover, LimeWire long relied solely on the slower Gnutella network, which made it less suitable for exchanging large video files such as high-definition TV shows or movies. LimeWire only recently released an upgrade that lets users search and exchange files via BitTorrent.
Finally, like Napster, LimeWire has faced several lawsuits from music companies and the RIAA - though unlike the former, LimeWire has survived them all without a major shutdown.
Nevertheless, LimeWire LLC last month signaled its intention to, like the company behind BitTorrent, at least partially convert to licensed content distribution. It launched a beta version of LimeWire Store where users can buy music online, similar to Apple's iTunes store. Unlike iTunes, however, the LimeWire Store sells its music without DRM copyright restrictions.
Meanwhile, µTorrent's share nearly quadrupled over the course of the year, from 3% in September 2006 to 11.3% in September 2007. The BitTorrent client was the third most popular client, with 4.6% market share.
BitTorrent - the system as a whole, including both the network and the BitTorrent client - has been heavily hyped in the past several years as a way of sharing files, especially large ones, because of its more efficient distributed technology.
Besides BitTorrent, other popular desktop applications that allow users to connect with others in the BitTorrent network include µTorrent, Vuze, BitComet, BitLord, and BitTornado. Those programs collectively held 28.2% of the P2P market last September.
But the Gnutella network, to which LimeWire users connect, also remains the most popular, with 40.5% of the market. Other Gnutella software in the report's top 13 includes BearShare and FrostWire.
P2PTV Veoh Networks Leads in Viewer Engagement
Veoh Networks, the world's most widely distributed and successful peer-to-peer television (P2PTV) service, this week reported first-quarter milestones that demonstrate growing viewer engagement with online video, continued adoption of Internet-based television, and an increase in time spent watching the web during primetime television viewing hours.
Veoh viewers consumed a total of more than 46 million hours of content in March. The average viewer now consumes more than 1 hour, 37 minutes per month - the most time spent per month on any video site and twice as much as time spent on YouTube.
In Q1 2008, Veoh's global audience grew 25% to more than 28 million unique monthly viewers - up from 23 million at the end of December 2007 - making Veoh's audience larger than that of most US cable companies.
The average video view-length on Veoh is now more than 10 minutes per video - up from six minutes the previous quarter - indicating an increasing viewer interest in episodic, long form content.
Viewers continue to turn to P2PTV during traditional primetime TV programming hours. Viewing during primetime television hours increased to 44% of total views on Veoh in Q1.
"Television audiences are going through the biggest shift in viewing behavior since the advent of cable in the 1980s. The Internet has unlocked a new way to watch television and video, and given the engagement we're seeing on Veoh, I'm confident it will eventually become the primary way people watch their favorite programming," said Steve Mitgang, CEO of Veoh Networks.
"Instead of hundreds of pre-programmed channels, it's clear that more and more viewers want easy access to the millions of videos on the web so they can watch whatever they want, whenever they want it," continued Mitgang. "At Veoh, we're making it easy for viewers to not only find what they know they like on the web - whether that's TV shows, web series, or popular video clips - but also discover new gems they didn't know existed."
Veoh viewers are extremely loyal, visiting Veoh an average of six times per month. They are young, independent consumers who are early adopters of new technology, emerging media and lifestyle products. More than 60% of Veoh viewers are ages 18-34 and are highly influential on the subjects of video games, Internet content, electronics, fashion, music and television compared to the average web consumer.
While network TV shows drove media buzz about Internet TV in Q1, Veoh viewers actually consumed a diverse mix of content on Veoh. Popular TV shows like CBS' "Jericho" and celebrity interviews from FEARNet drew large audiences on Veoh this quarter, but viewers also consumed a great deal of library and independent-professional content.
Ford Models' "Changing Room Confessions: Nanette Lepore" and the hit parody sketch "Internet Party" by comedy troupe These Aren't Muskets were among the top 10 most-watched shows/videos on Veoh in Q1.
"The Office" and "CSI: Miami" are consistently popular on Veoh, but in Q1, more viewers tuned in to episodes of CBS' classic "Star Trek."
"The Barack Obama Song" video by Wicked Awesome Films was a huge hit on Veoh in Q1. In fact, it garnered more views than the highly popular swimsuit videos of Sports Illustrated models Ana Beatriz, Melissa Haro, Jarah Mariano, and Jeisa Chiminazzo.
To reach these viewers across their highly diverse viewing interests, Veoh introduced a proprietary behavioral targeting engine in Q1. This engine allows advertisers to reach their target viewing audiences and present relevant ads to them across the full breadth of network TV, independent professional and user-generated content on Veoh.
Tests using the new behavioral targeting engine yielded significant performance lifts, and several major brands have already begun running behaviorally-targeted campaigns on Veoh.
Analyze That: The Future of P2P
Excerpted from Streaming Media Magazine
This new feature poses a pertinent question to a group of market analysts to provide a sense of how the financial services sector perceives industry development. This issue's question: Is P2P the future of video content delivery, or will traditional content delivery technology win out in the end?
Jim Davis, Senior Analyst, Networks and Media, Tier1Research, said, "P2P technology is the future of content delivery, but it will not totally supplant video broadcasting networks and technologies. P2P will ultimately become another tool to aid delivery of services by content delivery networks (CDNs) such as Akamai and content aggregators such as YouTube."
"It will also be used by terrestrial broadcasters (the BBC in the UK is already providing a prominent example) and by cable or telcos to augment broadcast programming with movie download services and live streaming of events to networked devices. Content owners and ISPs won't let this happen without first getting a piece of the action, though," Davis continued.
David Eller, Principal, Reuters, said, "P2P will find a niche within the traditional structure. The value proposition of using P2P to reduce networking costs is easy to understand, but the limitations of putting a P2P client in business environments is a real hurdle. In my view a hybrid model will emerge that balances the strengths of both architectures. We believe that content-focused data growth rates will remain in excess of 100% and an increasing amount of entertainment will be available via download. Concerns regarding a sustained CDN price war appear to be subsiding leaving opportunity for emerging P2P companies."
Aaron Kessler, Senior Research Analyst, Piper Jaffray, said, "We believe that traditional content delivery methods will continue to be the primary method for content delivery as we believe most companies will want to utilize vendors that can guarantee uptime and the speed of delivery. Additionally, with CDN prices likely to continue to decline, price will likely become less of an issue. That said, we do believe there is an opportunity for P2P platforms in some form of hybrid model-Akamai's acquisition of Red Swoosh is a good example of this."
Colby Synesael, Senior VP, Equity Research Telecom and Data Services, Merriman Curhan Ford, said, "The single best feature of P2P is its ability to reduce costs. However, because of its invasive manner, as well as the significant head start traditional CDN companies have, to assume P2P will replace traditional CDN technology is naive. Rather, we believe a hybrid model, which utilizes client- and network-based caching/mirroring technology is more likely, particularly as demand for high-bandwidth services such as IP HD take hold. Further strengthening our view, traditional CDN technology offers superior security and management capabilities, which are important requirements for delivering high quality/monetizable content."
IdaRose Sylvester, Senior Research Analyst, Semiconductors Group, IDC, said, "P2P versus traditional network broadcast is not a winner-take-all debate. The starting point in understanding this is history: First, just like television did not kill off radio, P2P video delivery services like Joost will not kill off traditional broadcast but rather enhance consumers' experience. P2P delivery potentially offers the consumer more Long Tail content, promotes the democratization of content creation and delivery, and provides content to more screens than traditional broadcast. All of this enhances, and only competes to a degree, with traditional broadcast."
Ira Weinstein, Senior Analyst and Partner, Wainhouse Research, concluded, "P2P is an exceptionally efficient, cost-effective way to distribute rich-media content. And, in this analyst's opinion, P2P does not enjoy the respect it deserves. However, P2P is not well-suited for limited distribution (it requires a certain critical mass to be effective) or on-demand content items. We believe that, over time, the majority of rich-media content will be distributed using a blended approach that leverages P2P as appropriate but falls back on traditional CDN-style delivery as required."
Peer-to-Peer Virtual Worlds
Excerpted from MIT Technology Review Report by Erica Naone
Sudden crowds are part of the Internet: a blog post gets popular, and people flood in, sometimes straining servers to the breaking point. Online virtual worlds are subject to the same phenomenon, and unlike with a blog site, visitors to virtual worlds can't be spread across different servers arbitrarily, to balance the load. Friends need to be kept together, so that they can interact.
Now VastPark, an Australian company that provides foundations for virtual worlds, is planning to use new P2P technology from National ICT Australia (NICTA), a research institute, to solve this problem.
NICTA's system incorporates P2P networks, which help reduce the load of sudden crowds by getting bandwidth and processing resources from each new user who makes a demand on the network.
Santosh Kulkarni, a senior researcher in the network information processing group at NICTA, says that the P2P networks will also reduce the cost of infrastructure for companies who use it in their virtual worlds, since the system allows more users to sign up for a world, without requiring the company to support them with more servers.
The typical network architecture for virtual worlds, Kulkarni says, involves central servers that control all the information flowing to-and-from the clients installed on users' computers. Some virtual-world architectures, such as that of Linden Lab's Second Life, stream all the information about the world from those central servers, including information about 3-D content, along with information about the position of the user's avatar.
Other architectures, such as that of the Multiverse network, separate information about the look of the world from information about how avatars are interacting. Display information gets distributed with client software and stored on users' computers, reducing the amount of information that needs to pass through the central server on a regular basis.
NICTA's system reduces the infrastructure required by the company hosting the world because, while the company can still run a central server that distributes client software and contains information about 3-D content, P2P networks can handle information about avatar position and character interaction.
Kulkarni says that figuring out how to map this content onto a P2P network is a completely different problem from figuring out how to divide content for common P2P applications, such as file sharing. NICTA's technology, he explains, divides the space in a virtual world into regions, and peers become responsible for hosting the regions.
As the regions become more populated, they are further subdivided, and more peers become responsible for the pieces. When a user's client wants to find out about the objects around her avatar, it sends a request to the network, which finds the peer hosting her current region. That peer puts the user's computer in touch with the peers closest to her in the virtual world, who have information about her surroundings. The system also contains code to reduce the load on the network, such as an algorithm that notices clusters of users moving around the world together and consolidates their update requests into a single query.
"The neat thing about P2P," says Kulkarni, "is that you only need to know about a few peers around you. Once you know that, then you can learn more and more and find out about all the other objects, and this way, you can scale to an unlimited number of users."
There are other efforts at developing P2P networks for virtual worlds, such as Solipsis and VAST. These systems use different algorithms to map virtual worlds to P2P. VastPark CEO Bruce Joy says that the company chose to incorporate NICTA's technology because it meshes well with VastPark's existing structure.
"We were trying to figure out how to make small spaces that connect together in order to form massive environments," Joy says. NICTA's approach involved subdividing a space so that it could be run by users and scaled as large as necessary. Joy says that initially, he thought the ideas were opposites, but he eventually came to see them as complementary.
Wu-chang Feng, an associate professor of computer science at Portland State University, who researches the network architecture of virtual worlds, says that NICTA's technology is "not suitable for games, but pretty compelling for virtual communities." He explains that games hosted through P2P networks tend to have problems with cheating, since users can easily access and alter information about, for example, whether an attack breached an opponent's defenses. For worlds focused on social interactions, on the other hand, Feng says that reducing the infrastructure cost through P2P networks makes sense.
He notes, however, that Linden Lab could provide formidable competition to VastPark's approach if the company let individuals host their own Second Life servers, which is common for popular first-person shooter games. Since Second Life has already made moves to open up its system, Feng sees this as a likely possibility.
While Kulkarni says that NICTA has researched ways of making the P2P network cheating-resistant, he thinks the system works best for social worlds that include a lot of user-generated content. VastPark is still working on integrating the P2P technology and expects to open it up for testing to a few members of the public toward the end of this year.
PeerApp Opens EMEA Office in the United Kingdom
Excerpted from EarthTimes Report
PeerApp, the innovator in intelligent media caching, this week announced the opening of its European, Middle Eastern, and Africa (EMEA) office in the UK. Guy Powell, Vice President for EMEA Operations, will lead the expansion of PeerApp's business in this important region.
PeerApp's products are deployed by Internet service providers (ISPs) to lower International backhaul bandwidth costs and help alleviate network congestion caused by the rapid growth in the delivery of video files via P2P networks and through various streaming video websites such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace.
The PeerApp UltraBand system supports the concurrent operation of P2P protocols and HTTP video streaming applications. UltraBand systems are high-performance, carrier-grade, high-availability platforms that can scale beyond multi-Gbps deployments.
PeerApp's intelligent media caching algorithms allow P2P and HTTP content to be cached based on popularity or frequency-of-use, content freshness, and accuracy.
Because content is stored and served from ISP locations close to the subscriber, it is delivered more quickly, often at wire speeds. Eliminating repetitive, redundant downloading of identical content eliminates the need for ISPs to overprovision network transit links.
PeerApp UltraBand deployments reduce the amount of backhaul bandwidth required, speed delivery of content, and improve subscriber quality of service (QoS).
Improved subscriber experience is essential both to ISPs' brands and to content owners and aggregators whose services depend on quality delivery through the entire network. PeerApp solutions address all layers in the delivery cycle.
Raketu Releases New Mobile Social Networking App
Raketu, a leading global P2P communications, information, and entertainment company, today released its mobile social networking application. In addition to Raketu's voice calling, SMS-Texting, file sharing, and other communications, information, and entertainment services, the new application allows any user, anywhere, to contribute, share and interact from any device.
Raketu's new Mobile Social Networking is also available on any desktop through the browser and the Raketu download client, so that users on Raketu's website, mobile websites, and from the download client can actively participate and share information in their social network no matter where they are.
"Many of our users approached Raketu to provide a way to contribute content, create and participate in blogs and bulletins, and to share opinions, pictures, and videos from any device, so that no matter what mobile or desktop device they were using, they could access and interact with their social network," said Greg Parker, President & CEO of Raketu. "The new Raketu Mobile Social Networking does just that - enables any Internet connected device to actively participate, share, and communicate, in real time."
Raketu Mobile Social Networking provides the ability for users to post blogs, bulletins, and comments, upload pictures and video content, create their custom profile, and share and interact with other users either through traditional commenting and e-mail, or in real-time with Raketu's communications services - Instant Message (IM), SMS-Texting, or Voice.
The new Raketu social network provides a real-time service among devices anywhere in the world. It can be accessed without a download from any desktop, laptop, or mobile device including BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia, and WinMobile. Raketu's new Mobile Social Networking also provides users with the ability to self monitor and manage their content and the comments and interaction around their content.
Raketu is the only service that combines desktop, web-based, mobile social networking, and advanced communications features into a single service, with a single account from a single provider. Anyone with an Internet connection can start using Raketu immediately from Raketu.com, Raketu.mobi, BlackBerry.Raketu.com, iPhone.Raketu.com, Nokia.Raketu.com, Mobile.Raketu.com, or from the Raketu download application.
Javien Payment Gateway for Music, Movies, Games
Excerpted from Internet Retailer Report
Addressing a need for processing payments of digital products via P2P services, websites, and mobile phones, Javien Digital Payment Solutions has launched the Javien New Payment Gateway.
"Our platform doesn't just deliver the full breadth of technology needed to successfully sell music, movies, and games - it also streamlines the entire range of merchant processes by providing a central management point for administering billing and customer care," said Javien CEO Leslie Poole.
"When a merchant is encountering an issue with processing a purchase, it needs more from its payment processing partners than an e-mail form and a response 48 hours later. If the merchant is using our platform and payment gateway, it can access an actual person who will help address the issue as well as a way to track its resolution."
The Javien New Media Payment Gateway, with payment processing handled through Optimal Payments, provides authorization within three seconds for Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and Diners Club International credit cards, plus debit cards and electronic check payments. The gateway also includes fraud protection capabilities utilizing the 3-D Secure protocol developed by Visa.
The new payment gateway also handles PayPal accounts and multiple pricing models, including subscription and a la carte purchases of single digital files. Javien can also aggregate and batch transactions according to business rules to minimize transaction-processing fees, the company said.
Move Networks Raises $46 Million for HD Delivery
Move Networks, a leading provider of high-definition (HD) online television services, this week announced a $46 million Series C funding round led by Benchmark Capital that includes global technology leaders Cisco Systems, Comcast, and Televisa, as well as previous investors Steamboat Ventures and Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.
"Viewers are demanding higher quality video at anytime and any place. Move's platform provides a solution that maximizes quality while at the same time meeting the demands of scalability and profits," said John Edwards, CEO of Move Networks. "This funding round is further validation by leading digital new media companies and infrastructure providers that Move Networks has the delivery services uniquely designed to meet the online monetization mandate of the world's largest media companies."
"The consumer experience is a central component to the future growth of broadband video," said Ian Blaine, CEO of thePlatform, SVP Content Publishing for Comcast Interactive Media. "Consumers expect online video to mirror their television or DVD experience today. Companies such as Move Networks will play a key role going forward."
"Rarely have we seen a company take market share at such a dramatic pace in an emerging industry," said Bill Gurley, General Partner at Benchmark Capital. "The key stakeholders of the world's best video content are voting by choosing Move Networks as their online video solution. Move offers a unique and obvious quality advantage compared to other video delivery options. The best brands with the best content want full control of their experience and their advertising relationships. The Move platform is the only choice on the market that optimizes this strategic imperative."
Move's unique patent-pending technology uses open Internet protocols to deliver high-quality live and on-demand video that easily and cost-effectively scales to millions of viewers while fully protecting the assets of the media company, and giving users the best video viewing experience in the industry.
Octoshape Offers Keynote P2P Stream Monitoring
Octoshape, a leading provider of P2P streaming solutions, is now taking steps to further prove the viability and benefits of its technology with Keynote Streaming Perspective, as broadcasters employing the Octoshape solution are now able to monitor quality and stability of their online content at the end-user level.
Keynote Systems is the global leader in mobile and Internet test and measurement solutions for continuously improving the online experience.
In the fast developing market of P2P streaming solutions, telling what is hype and what is fact is more difficult than ever. Through Keynote's Streaming Perspective, Octoshape can provide its customers an independent third-party assessment of the reliability and quality of service (QoS) of its P2P solution.
Keynote's Streaming Perspective can monitor P2P streams from 22 cities worldwide and be customized for deployment in any geographic location whether inside or outside a company's firewall.
"The Octoshape solution ensures stable streaming in high quality without buffering and interruptions for the end users. The use of P2P technology in commercial broadcasting is gaining momentum, and a lot of players are entering the field peddling a host of solutions. Keynote is the leading independent third-party service for testing and measuring. With their services our customers can verify that their Octoshape solutions deliver," said Stephen Alstrup, CEO of Octoshape.
"As live streaming over the Internet grows at an accelerated rate, the issues of scale and cost remain an important factor in developing a delivery strategy. Octoshape is on the cutting edge of solving significant technical issues, such as scalability and cost-efficiencies, involved in the real-time transportation of live or stored on-demand media over the Internet with true P2P streaming. Our goal at Keynote is to continue to support traditional stream delivery methods, while evolving our technology and global measurement infrastructure to enable highly accurate performance quality monitoring of P2P streaming technology," said Jeff Geiser, Global Director of Streaming Media at Keynote Systems.
Project Kangaroo Attracts Ashley Highfield as CEO
Excerpted from Think Broadband Report by Andrew Ferguson
It must be something to do with the spring, but executives in high flying jobs appear to be having a musical-chairs period. Ashley Highfield has left his executive job in the BBC and moved to the BBC Worldwide Project Kangaroo as chief executive.
BBC Worldwide is the commercial arm of the BBC which sells BBC content around the world and generated £111 million of profit which was fed back into the BBC to subsidize the license fee.
Project Kangaroo has been in development for a while and will offer BBC content over the Internet worldwide on a pay-per-view or advertising funded basis. The project is a joint venture among C4, ITV and the BBC with the aim of increasing audience sizes for shows and generating income.
The advertising may develop into a targeted advertising system, to allow advertisers to get a better return on the money they spend.
The commercial market has produced many sites where video can be downloaded for a fee. A big difference with Kangaroo is the opportunity to better integrate it on a station's website and the multitude of micro-sites each show occupies.
The Guardian has reported on speculation that Kangaroo may launch in June this year so we may not have to wait too long to see what innovative technology is embedded within the Kangaroo service.
YouTorrent Launches and is Put Up for Sale
Excerpted from TorrentFreak Report
In just a matter of weeks since its launch, YouTorrent has become one of the most popular BitTorrent meta-search engines. This weekend, however, it revealed a shift in strategy and it now only indexes sites that host torrent files linking to licensed content.
Unsurprisingly, the enormous success of the site even inspired others to start similar projects. None of these came close to YouTorrent's success, which now attracts over 10 million unique visitors a month.
YouTorrent's selling points are the great interface, an ad-less design, and its ability to search most of the larger BitTorrent sites.
Patrick, one of the people running YouTorrent told TorrentFreak: "Due to the uncertain nature of the source and accuracy of the results returned by some engines, we have decided to reduce our engine selection to ones that claim the provision of licensed, certified content."
Patrick is also looking into selling the site. "The YouTorrent project has grown very quickly but unfortunately is not in line with the owning companies' core business," he said.
"We have had some interest to buy from some parties. On that basis, we have presented the site to other parties in the space to see if there is interest there also," he added.
Monitoring P2P for Unlawful Content
Excerpted from CNET News Report by Anne Broache
A prominent Senate Democrat on Wednesday said federal and local police should use custom software to monitor P2P networks for illegal activity, and he wants to spend $1 billion in tax dollars to help make that happen.
At an afternoon Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing about child exploitation on the Internet, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) said he was under the impression it's "pretty easy to pick out the person engaged in either transmitting or downloading violent scenes of rape or molestation" simply by looking at file names. He urged use of those techniques by investigators to help nab the most egregious offenders.
The software, dubbed "Operation Fairplay," was developed two years ago by Special Agent Flint Waters in the Wyoming Attorney General's Office, an expert in the field. The application is currently being used by all of the regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces nationwide and internationally, Waters told the panel.
Waters describes the system as a "comprehensive computer infrastructure," housed in Wyoming, that grants law enforcement officers a "big picture" of what sort of criminally obscene file transfers are going on across the country. It's able to help investigators conduct undercover operations involving P2P file-sharing applications, chat-rooms, websites, and mobile telephones, Waters said.
No one's trying to demonize those technologies, Waters said. "Blaming this problem on P2P innovation is like blaming the interstate highway system when someone uses it to transport drugs," he said.
In 2008 alone, investigators using Fairplay have "seen" more than 1,400 IP addresses tied to swapping criminally obscene content on at least 100 different occasions, Waters said.
Based on Waters' statements to the committee, the system appears to work like this: Investigators log onto P2P file-sharing networks as any other person would and search for files containing certain keywords that are likely to indicate unlawful activity is involved. Then they download the files - frequently videos, sometimes as long as 20 to 30 minutes - to their own machines. They're able to use the Fairplay software to obtain the IP address of the file's sender and, in some cases, display its geographic location in map form.
Once armed with an IP address and date and time of the download, investigators can subpoena the Internet service provider (ISP) for more information, such as name and address of the subscriber who was assigned it at that moment. "It's not necessarily the suspect but it tells us the physical location to start," Waters said.
Biden pushed for passage of a bill known as the Combating Child Exploitation Act. It would authorize more than $1 billion over the next eight years to hire 250 new federal agents devoted to Internet crimes against children, provide additional funding to regional computer forensics labs, and give out more federal grants to the regional Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces. The House of Representatives passed a companion bill in October.
Content ID Applications Worth $500 Million by 2012
Report Buyer, the online destination for business intelligence for major industry sectors, has now added a new report showing that applications leveraging content identification technologies such as digital watermarking and fingerprinting within media, are growing rapidly and could surpass $500 million worldwide by 2012. Key applications include Internet and broadcast content monitoring, metadata association, copyright control, content protection and forensics, and interactive advertising.
Beyond Traditional DRM: Moving to Digital Watermarking & Fingerprinting in Media Monetization reports that non-linear media distribution requires new enabling technologies, beyond traditional encryption-based digital rights management. The authors note that the growth of P2P distribution, social networks, and copyright infringement is accelerating the need for watermarking and fingerprinting.
The report shows that digital watermarking will also compliment digital rights management (DRM) and conditional access technologies. Companies, such as Cinea, Philips and Verimatrix, are positioning transactional digital watermarking for integration into set-top boxes, to increase content traceability and security.
The authors say their goal is to convince content owners to support earlier release of high-definition (HD) video assets for video-on-demand (VOD) and enable incremental revenue for pay TV operators. Fox has already communicated that it will mandate watermarking for early-release HD content.
BitTorrent Use Soars as MPAA Fights on
Excerpted from Ars Technica Report by Eric Bangeman
Both the music and movie industries see file-sharing as a very real threat to their livelihood. Their approaches to the problem have differed, however, as the RIAA has targeted individual P2P users with lawsuits while the MPAA has chosen to go after BitTorrent sites.
The MPAA has scored some high-profile victories against P2P site operators and the men behind The Pirate Bay (TPB) have been indicted by Swedish prosecutors, but many observers have questioned whether the motion picture industry's efforts are in fact backfiring, as traffic to popular BitTorrent sites and participation in swarms appears to be on the upswing.
MPAA Worldwide Director of Anti-Piracy Operations John Malcolm said he believes the situation is getting better. "In some ways, the situation is improving in that we've gotten the attention of law enforcement and Swedish prosecutors have taken action against TPB admins," Malcolm argued.
"The Scandinavian countries are considering legislation and other countries that used to be piracy havens like the Netherlands have taken steps to make them less of a haven."
The downside to high-profile actions against P2P sites is that they act as free publicity. TPB bragged that after a Danish ISP was forced to block its subscribers from accessing the Swedish site, traffic spiked. TPB attributes the increase from the publicity surrounding the ISP's action.
Malcolm conceded that there may be a cause-and-effect situation at play, but said that it's unavoidable. "I don't think there's any question that some of the public may not be aware of these sites and there's going to be curiosity. Some people end up staying there," he said. "The alternative is to do nothing and hope that they don't discover the 'pirate bays' of the world, and that's not realistic."
Unfortunately, people are discovering TPB and a whole host of other sites. Even as the MPA, MPAA, IFPI, and other groups have scored legal victories over torrent sites, BitTorrent use is growing. In fact, average BitTorrent traffic for the two-month period from mid-January to mid-March was up almost 25 percent compared with the month before Christmas, according to online media measurement firm BigChampagne.
"All of the P2P growth we've seen over the past several months is in the torrent community," BigChampagne CEO Eric Garland said. "There's a lot of adoption and interest in the torrent clients."
Some of the growth in BitTorrent may be coming from those growing tired of LimeWire and other traditional P2P networks, but those new to P2P seem to be jumping on the BitTorrent bandwagon. "All of the growth is in the torrent community, which maybe suggests that the audience for traditional P2P is mature."
BitTorrent traffic spiked over the December holidays. After a peaking at almost 12.5 million downloaders of the 200 most popular files, traffic dropped at the beginning of January - about the time that school started up again. But one figure that will prove alarming to the content creation industry is that the numbers are higher now than they used to be.
"The baseline has been elevated," noted Garland. "Not only did the spike happen, but the bar was raised."
Garland draws a comparison between BitTorrent and the increased activity on the iTunes Store that pushed Apple into the top US music retailer spot. "It was like that for iTunes sales. People got gift cards, and then the volume of sales would significantly increase," Garland said. "It looks like people haven't burned through their torrent gift cards."
Torrented content is also evolving as more people start using the protocol. Previously, BigChampagne used to see a lot of feature films and individual TV shows. Feature films are still popular, but TV shows are increasingly being bundled into multi-episode packs.
"People are migrating towards three packs, six packs, and even whole seasons," Garland said. "Click once to get 13 hours of programming instead of clicking 13 times."
Ultimately, it's impossible to say if and how the attention the media has given to TPB and other BitTorrent sites has impacted traffic to those sites and BitTorrent activity. One thing is for sure: the MPAA isn't about to back down.
"Content providers can't afford to sit by and do nothing," Malcolm said. "We need to highlight that copyright infringement is not a victimless crime and take appropriate actions."
Coming Events of Interest
AdMonsters Leadership Forum - April 22nd at the Digital Sandbox, New York, NY. The forum brings together senior members of the online ad operations community for a day of workshops, member-led presentations, and peer-certified best practice recommendations. This is truly a meeting of the minds for those leading operations online. David Clark, EVP of Joost, will keynote.
P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA - May 5th in Los Angeles, CA. The third annual P2P MEDIA SUMMIT LA. The DCIA's flagship event featuring keynotes from industry-leading P2P and social network operators; tracks on policy, technology and marketing; panel discussions covering content distribution and solutions development; valuable workshops; networking opportunities; and more.
Digital Hollywood Spring - May 6th-8th in Los Angeles, CA. With many new sessions and feature events, DHS has become the premiere digital entertainment conference and exposition. DCIA Member companies will exhibit and speak on a number of panels.
Streaming Media East – May 20th-21st in New York, NY. SME is the place to learn what is taking place with all forms of online video business models and technology. Content owners, viral video creators, online marketers, enterprise corporations, broadcast professionals, ad agencies, educators, and others attend. The DCIA will participate in the P2P session.
Advertising 2.0 New York - June 4th-5th in New York, NY. A new kind of event being developed as a partnership of Advertising Age and Digital Hollywood. The DCIA is fully supporting this important inaugural effort and encourages DCINFO readers to plan now to attend.
P2P MEDIA SUMMIT SV - August 4th in San Jose, CA. The first-ever P2P MEDIA SUMMIT in Silicon Valley. Featuring keynotes from industry-leading P2P and social network operators; tracks on policy, technology and marketing; panel discussions covering content distribution and solutions development; valuable workshops; networking opportunities; and more.
Building Blocks 2008 - August 5th-7th in San Jose, CA. The premier event for transforming entertainment, consumer electronics, social media & web application technologies & the global communications network: TV, cable, telco, consumer electronics, mobile, broadband, search, games and the digital home.
International Broadcasting Convention - September 11th-16th 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. Uniquely, the key executives and committees who control the convention are drawn from the industry, bringing with them experience and expertise in all aspects.