P2P Delivery Networks Can’t Survive On Their Own

Since the acquisition of RedSwoosh by Akamai, a lot of P2P delivery providers have been contacting me saying that the acquisition now validates their service offering. One has nothing to do with the other. Over the years, we have seen many acquisitions in the market where the company that was acquired then got close down or went under. The fact that one company in the P2P distribution market got acquired does not mean that all of a sudden P2P is going to get adopted.

Yes, it has a chance to become another means of distributing content, but it’s not about comparing P2P distribution to other forms of content distribution. So many people want to talk about P2P as if you have to use that, or something else and no one talks about it as a hybrid. It’s like the people who say they will either do streaming or progressive downloads. It’s not one or the other. It’s always about using the best combination of delivery platforms depending on the type of content being delivered along with who it’s being delivered to and how they want to consume it.

In order for P2P to make it, it has to be combined into a service based business. It can’t stand alone and be supported by itself. P2P can’t try to fight against the traditional means of CDN distribution or else it will lose. It has to be combined with all other forms of delivery and be thought of as just another means of video distribution.

P2P vendors also need to stop referring to Joost and BitTorrent as successful P2P companies and trying to use those as examples when talking to people about P2P. Joost and BitTorrent are NOT P2P companies. They are content companies who happen to use P2P for delivery. But if consumers do not adopt Joost or BitTorrent’s content business models, then the form of distribution they are using does not matter. They are content companies trying to sell content, that’s the bottom line. The consumer does not care how the content is being delivered or what the protocol is as long as it meets their own personal expectations of how they judge quality.

It’s a natural fit for a traditional based CDN like Akamai to want to add P2P delivery to the many other forms of content delivery offered and I expect we will see more CDN do this over time. That is the best way to get P2P adopted, offering and using it as another means of delivery be it streaming, progressive download or P2P.