Akamai Gears Up for Live Streaming Surge in 2021

(Image credit: Akamai)

After the pandemic powered increase in streaming in 2020, Akamai expects live streaming to surge in late 2020 and continue to be huge in 2021 and is updating its platform to be able to handle the climbing usage.

Akamai said that it could see 50 million people concurrently streaming a single live event in the coming months, about double the current record.

Akamai said it has created new tools to help developers set up live streaming workflows.

New Akamai Developer APIs can increase operational efficiency for organizations that need to manage numerous live or linear streams, often simultaneously,” said Alex Balford, senior product marketing manager, Media and Entertainment at Akamai, in a blog post. “These APIs are designed to simplify the process of provisioning Akamai’s Media Services Live and Adaptive Media Delivery, which are critical components of many customers’ live workflows to ingest streams with high stability and reach global audiences with as little latency as possible.”

Akamai said its Media Services Live now includes a live clipping feature to simplify the creating and archiving of highlight, while a new feature called Instant TV enables streaming providers to define the beginning of a live program and allows viewers to utilize restart TV functionality to start streaming an in-progress show from the beginning.

At the same time, Akamai is beefing up systems to combat fraudulent or shared streams, while building out capacity, The Akamai Intelligent Edge Platform now includes more than 300,000 servers in 4,00 locations and 1,500 networks around the world. 

In his blog, Balford noted that after lockdown and quarantine, stream traffic on Akamai’s platform exceeded 100 terabits per second every day in the second quarter. Traffic topped 100 terabits for the first time in October 2019.

“Many major sports leagues have recently returned, with limited or in some cases no fans in attendance, and for some the audiences tuning in have been an order of magnitude larger than before the pandemic,” Balford said. “Looking ahead, many major international sporting events such as the Olympics, UEFA Euro tournament, and others have deferred their events until late 2020 or 2021, setting up a perfect storm of sorts where many live events are set to take place in tight time windows.”

Between the U.S. election campaigns and the return of sports to TV, “Akamai has seen a significant increase in live streaming,” he said. “We expect this trend to continue.” 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.