IBC 2018: CDNvideo’s CEO Yaroslav Gorodetsky talks about the challenges and areas of innovation in delivering video traffic over CDNs, how peer-to-peer compares with CDN video delivery and fighting ad blockers.
What do you see as the key trends and challenges in delivering video traffic over CDNs at the present time?
At the moment we see price scissors between the price in the CDN market which is dropping and the cost of service which is stable and even growing. Traditional CDNs fight this by locking in customers, making them sign yearly or three-yearly contracts. We see that it might work for some periods of time, but in the end it’s not good for the customers. What we do? We try to help our CDN customers either earn more or cut their costs for CDN delivery.
What would you identify as the main areas of innovation in delivering video overCDNs, including from CDNvideo?
The first ones are P2P delivery and Multi-CDN approach. With P2P we can dramatically lower the costs for CDN traffic and therefore give much more attractive pricing for CDN. About giving more value to the customers… First, we help them earn more with personalized ads. If the customer is able to insert personalized ads, this customer will certainly get more money from ads, because ad agencies pay more for personalized ads. The second one is analytics. We really did a lot of work for presenting and analyzing CDN usage results to the customers, so they could take the decisions on their content policy based on that information.
How effective is the use of peer-to-peer technology to make the delivery of video more effective and how does P2P technology compare with alternative solutions?
It is very effective on large broadcasts, on large streaming events like, for example, the World Cup or some political events. We did it already this year several times, and it works really well. So P2P works, and, contrary to CDN, the more visitors you have, the better P2P works. With the CDN, it’s opposite.
What are the main opportunities and challenges in distributing video in emerging markets including China?
The Internet in China is very much controlled by the government. You need to have an ICP licence in order to go online in China. And also the Internet is very diverse. You can have a very good Internet quality in Beijing or Shanghai, but you will have not so good Internet quality in rural areas. To deliver your traffic to China, you need to know how the Chinese Internet works. You need to know very well the issues that you might face in rural areas and how to address them.
How big a challenge is ad blocking to making money from online video and what solutions exist?
Ad blockers take up to 40% traffic in US. About the same figure in Europe. So ad blockers really make the customer of CDN suffer. Especially those customers who rely on ad-supported business model. So there are two ways to fight this. One way is obfuscation of HTML code of web pages which removes ad blockers completely. But this is a tricky thing because you can just get customers frustrated. You might eventually make ad blockers to have more innovations and start a technological race with them.
We think that the second way to fight them is better. We are very careful in fighting ad blockers. We try to personalize ads and send them together with the content, so that they are indistinguishable from the original content. So it’s the way we do that at the moment, and we see that our customers get up to 30% more revenue with personalized ads.