CNN, Netflix and NFL Using Level 3 For Content Delivery

Over the past few days I have been using tools to examine DNS and CNAME records for a lot of the major sites on the web to see which CDNs are delivering their content. While there have not been a lot of surprises, I did found out that Level 3 is delivering videos for Netflix and the NFL and delivering small objects for CNN.

I have been saying for some time now that Level 3 is getting some good traction with their CDN offering, yet many ask me if that is that is the case, why hasn't Level 3 announced a lot of these big customers? While they have announced a few, like the NHL, in many cases customers don't let CDNs use their name for press or marketing outreach. This is quite common amongst all CDN customers and not unique to Level 3.

But by using tools that examine DNS and CNAME records, it's not too hard to figure out which CDNs are delivering the content. That's exactly what I found out when I examined where content from Netflix and CNN is coming from. While it was always clear that Limelight delivers the vast majority of Netflix's content, Level 3 is also delivering some of their videos and Netflix's business is not exclusive to Limelight as I originally thought. And while Akamai is still delivering all of the videos that I saw coming from, many of the small objects on are being delivered by Level 3's caching network.

I've also learned that Level 3 is delivering the new NFL video on-demand service, "Game Rewind", which is really no surprise being that it is using Move Networks technology. While many may not know the connection there, Level 3 invested $6 million into Move Networks earlier in the year and as a result, gets a lot of Move's business. In addition to Game Rewind videos, Level 3 is also delivering the live stream for the NFL's Game Pass HD service; a subscription based offering that is only available to users outside the U.S. and Canada.

To gather most of the details, I used Fiddler, which runs as a “proxy” between your web browser and the network and listens to Port 80 (HTTP) or 443 (SSL). There are a bunch of other tools out there as well and if anyone knows of a Mac based tool, I'd love to know what it is.


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