By: Chris Marlowe

AOL, Inktomi Partner For Content Bridge

by Chris Marlowe

(The Hollywood Reporter) Several network service providers, led
by America Online Inc. and Inktomi Corp., announced Wednesday that
they will form an industry initiative to improve the way content is
delivered via the Internet.

Calling itself Content Bridge, the alliance will pool its resources
to make the Internet a more reliable and accountable medium for
movies, music, communications and commerce.

Content Bridge will arrange files on the Internet so that when a
customer asks for content it’s already waiting nearby in what are
known as access caches instead of having to travel from its place
of origin. The underlying architecture is called content peering.

This is the strategy being used by Content Bridge’s main competition,
Akamai Technologies, which has been the market leader for the past

Shares of Akamai dropped 2 5/16 on the news to 69 5/16, while Inktomi
rose 9 1/8 to 120 3/4 and AOL climbed 1 to 58 3/4.

‘We will allow the interconnected networks of the Internet to actually
work together in the content marketplace to move content from the
original entity, the provider, out to the users,’ Inktomi spokeswoman
Megan Matthews said.

Using this approach, Content Bridge members will be able to offer
their customers faster, cheaper and more reliable content delivery
with more control over the content.

Matthews acknowledged that online media has been less than successful
from the consumer’s point of view. ‘The alliance members recognize
that the end-to-end experience, both for the users who are trying to
get this type of content and for the people who are providing it, is
less than ideal right now,’ she said.

‘We stream and run events every day, but it’s not of television
quality yet,’ Digital Island vice president marketing Tim Wilson
said. ‘Streaming in itself is an emerging technology. It’s early on,
but it will generate additional revenue for our clients.’

Akamai spokesman Jeff Young downplayed the announcement, saying it
‘has no bearing on Akamai’s market leadership position in providing
global high performance services for the delivery of Internet content,
streaming media and applications.

‘The announcement specifies only five participating networks. By
comparison, Akamai’s network reach extends to over 225 networks
within 50 countries,’ he said.

CNN, Turner Broadcasting, Paramount Digital Entertainment, ABC, NBCi,
CBS and Fox are among the entertainment companies using Akamai
content-delivery services.

Besides AOL and Inktomi, Content Bridge is initially composed of
Adero Inc., Digital Island Inc., Exodus Communications Inc., Genuity
Inc., Madge.web, Mirror Image Internet Inc. and NetRail Inc., with
others expected to join.

Inktomi’s clients include AOL, Excite@Home, British Telecom, Geocities,
Intel Corp., Microsoft Corp., NBC Snap, Real Networks, Sun Microsystems
Inc. and Yahoo! It also provided the infrastructure behind the
Blockbuster/Enron deal.


Staff Reports

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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