Akamai in the Spotlight as Technology Partner of the Official Website of the 62nd Cannes Film Festival
Akamai is accelerating the official festival website and providing HD video delivery, allowing global film enthusiasts to view highlights of the 2009 festival
CAMBRIDGE, MA . - Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leader in powering rich media, dynamic transactions and enterprise applications online, today announced that it will ensure the availability and performance of the destination site for the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, as well as deliver hours of high definition (HD) video content on demand. During last year’s event, more than 1 million people visited the festival’s site, and organizers expect an increase in site visitors this year.
With a global audience of international film fans and an aggressive plan for video coverage of the event, the Cannes Film Festival is leveraging Akamai’s global platform in order to provide a high-quality, scalable site experience. Available at www.festival-cannes.com, Akamai will be streaming movie trailers for many of the films being screened that day. The site also features coverage of photo calls, press conferences, red carpet appearances and other events occurring throughout the competition.
Akamai recently worked with IDC Research on a whitepaper that outlines the HD video online tipping point. One of the key findings in the whitepaper is that it is imperative for publishers to introduce variable bit rate streaming in order to ensure an optimal experience for users. Content owners and publishers noted in the report that when video is offered in HD, they see user retention time and time spent per user on a site increase, allowing for more monetization opportunities. Effectively, variable bit rates create custom video experiences that allow publishers to reach the widest possible audience with HD without degrading delivery quality for users who access the Internet through slower broadband connections.
Akamai and the Cannes Film Festival have also launched a showcase website to complement the festival’s day-to-day coverage. This companion site - http://www.festival-cannes.com/hd/en/ - will offer a collection of movie trailers in true 720p HD resolution using dynamic streaming with Adobe® Flash® Media Server 3.5 over Akamai’s global distribution platform. The HD showcase videos will be shown in both English and French languages. In addition, daily footage of events will be highlighted in a range of variable bitrates to maximize the viewer’s experience.
“The Festival de Cannes is a global event of great interest across the film industry,” said Troy Snyder, Executive Producer, Digital Media, Akamai. “The Internet is a perfect medium to enable a worldwide audience to get a closer look at the films being screened at this year’s event, as well as enable them to get a first look at expanded coverage direct from the festival at this exciting international entertainment event.”
The Cannes Film Festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious film festivals in the world and should receive considerable media coverage. Due to the global interest of the event, Akamai is working with Cannes Film Festival organizers to deliver a smoother video viewing experience that is reflective of the high-artistic standards the festival has come to represent.
Akamai combines proprietary streaming technology with the reach and capacity of the Akamai platform - the world’s largest fault-tolerant network including 48,000 servers in 70 countries - to stream content both live and on demand in any format. For on-demand requests, Akamai identifies the optimal server closest to the user, routes the streams and delivers them from the “edge” of the Internet.
Dynamic streaming is a new feature in Adobe Flash Media Server 3.5 delivered over Akamai’s streaming platform that seamlessly switches between different quality versions of a single video stream to deliver the optimal viewing experience for the consumer. Dynamic streaming allows Flash-based video players to dynamically shift to end-user machines with different capabilities, such as lower processing power, or slower Internet connections. This solution enables delivery of a true HD Internet experience for users whose local environments can support it, while offering a dynamic, buffer-free experience that delivers the best picture quality possible when conditions are less than ideal. These breakthroughs improve the quality of video delivered over the Web and offer richer interactive experiences for users, encouraging viewers to spend more time online and enabling publishers to more effectively monetize content.
Akamai encoding technology partner, Inlet Technologies, was the first to provide VoD support for Adobe Dynamic Streaming after integrating the functionality of Flash Media Server 3.5 with Armada, Inlet’s fully-automated media transcoding and workflow solution. In addition to supporting VoD functionality, Inlet also supports live Dynamic Streaming with Inlet’s SpinnakerTM family of live encoding appliances. Inlet’s products are being used to encode all content on the showcase companion site. “This endeavor is a compelling opportunity to team with Akamai to bring the highest quality online viewing experience to a global audience,” said Neal Page, Inlet CEO. “We are committed to working with our technology partners to improve all aspects of the online video business by applying advanced technology solutions to real-world applications.”
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