Level 3 Restructures, Some Senior Execs From CDN Group Leaving

Last week Level 3 announced that they were making strategic changes to the company, including eliminating approximately 150 positions and realigning their customer facing groups in North America. Today, most of those changes were communicated internally and some of these changes will directly affect the CDN group. It was announced last week that Grant Van Rooyen who was the President of the Content Market Groups is gone and I've now learned that Lisa Guillaume who is the VP of CDN Services for Level 3 will be leaving this week. While Level 3 said about three people from the CDN group are leaving due to these changes, I'm hearing the number may be higher. Updated 5/5: Todd Coleman, SVP of Media Operations for Level 3 is also leaving the company.

While all companies make changes, the way in which Level 3 has communicated these changes has been odd. Today alone, I took quite a few calls from Level 3 customers asking me exactly what is going on at Level 3 and multiple customers told me of various changes as opposed to me hearing about them directly from Level 3. A quick check with some of Level 3's competitors also shows that in the past 24 hours, some Level 3 CDN customers have been reaching out to other CDNs, which means someone is not communicating the change very well.

At one point or another, change happens with all companies. But when it happens in such a short span of time and the company does nothing to communicate those changes to the market, it leaves everyone speculating on what is actually taking place. I never understood why companies don't get in front of the news and manage that message to the market and to customers, instead of letting the market come up with their own message and interpretation of what is taking place.

Many have been asking me today whether or not Level 3's new alignment of their business spells the end of their CDN services. While Level 3 has said the opposite, I do have to wonder how the change affects the way the product is marketed and sold. While Level 3 has been smart to integrate CDN into their other offerings, selling CDN can't be thought of as selling something like transit. You need to have a hands-on approach with CDN and all of the various video ecosytem pieces that go along with it.

To date, Level 3 has done what I consider to be a terrific job in the market going from nothing to $50M in CDN revenue in just under two years. They have a real ecosystem offering, have very happy customers and for the past 24 months, have been executing what I consider to be a very solid and strategic game plan. But with Level 3 now realigning the company and putting new people in charge of the content markets group, which the CDN product falls under, we'll have to keep a close eye on how these changes may affect their CDN offering going forward.

At next week's Streaming Media East show, I'll be meeting with executives from Level 3's CDN group to hear more details on what their CDN strategy is moving forward, so look for a blog post with more details on this subject in two weeks.