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It’s all about the CDN, stupid

Qwilt has published a new report looking at the challenges of live streaming an event for an audience of 10 million viewers

A new survey of 300 content publishers has revealed their biggest concern is whether a streaming service’s content delivery network (CDN) has the capacity to deliver content to viewers.

As part of the survey, Qwilt presented respondents with the task of running a live streaming event for an audience of 10 million viewers.

The number one concern in terms of success, according to Qwilt’s report, was securing sufficient CDN delivery capacity ahead of the event and CDN performance during the event, with 50 Tbps of capacity needed at peak, and 65 Tbps when taking into account a safety margin for peak traffic.

“Given the capacity needed and concerns about CDN performance, at least four or more CDNs would be required along with a load balancing system that can route traffic in real-time based on QoE, reserve capacity and Geo,” added the report.

The second biggest area of concern is overall latency of delivery, with securing CDN capacity third.

When asked about the average bit rate (ABR) across all viewers at the live event, which includes both mobile and broadband-connected devices, respondents were asked to choose from a range of possible ABR values. A consensus opinion of 5 Mbps would mean the event should be expected to generate about 50 Tbps (5 Mbps x 10 M viewer streams) of peak capacity across all CDNs streaming the event and across all regions, found the survey.

Asked to pick three key performance indicators (KPIs) that would best demonstrate the overall success of the event, respondents selected average bit rate delivered (24 per cent) and average minute audience (AMA) (21 per cent) as the two KPIs that should be given the most attention.

“This result speaks to OTT’s emerging role as a replacement for broadcast TV, as AMA is now more important than peak concurrent users (16 per cent) or unique users (10 per cent) as a measure of audience size and attention,” added the report.

The full report from Qwilt is available to download here.