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In the Limelight Blog

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(And it's not even Thanksgiving yet...)

Here we go.  The master calendar for games that will be available this holiday season has finally sorted itself out.  What’s in and what’s out for 2015 is finally clear, the first of an A+ list of releases is already here.  This is a big season for game downloading, and gamers are getting their first real data about how big these games will actually be.  While non-gamers may be teeing up “It’s a Wonderful Life”, gamers will be expecting their 10, 20, 30, and 50 GB game to download flawlessly.


So how much downloading is actually going to take place?  A rough guess is fairly easy to make - take the game size, multiply by sales, and apply the percentage of digital distribution that the publisher is expected to reach. For example, if Electronic Arts sells 1M copies of Need for Speed, releasing November 3, we know approximately 52% of these games, or 520000 copies will be digital (EA now earns 52% of its revenues through digital distribution, according to its financials).  Multiply this by the size of the game, and we get a rough estimate of the download traffic from this one game.


Since this promises to be a very active release season, I’ve decided to create a game download tracker which I’ll update with reliable data as it’s released.  First off - here’s the schedule and size of some major games coming out in the remainder of 2015:



   Holiday Game Download Tracker






Initial Sales

Retail Price

  1. Est. Unit Sales

Total GB's


Exabytes of Download Traffic


Halo 5







60% Est


Electronic Arts

Need for Speed









Activision/  Treyarch

Call of Duty: Black Ops III




















Rise of the Tomb Raider







60% Est


Electronic Arts

Starwars Battlefront










Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six









Square Enix/Avalanche

Just Cause 3










Starcraft II











By all accounts, Halo 5 is off to a strong start, with some estimates being as high as 3M copies sold. I’ve taken the conservative route with a 1M estimate, but still - this is more than a quarter of an Exabyte in download traffic alone. Digital downloading relies on the speed and capacity of the world’s content delivery networks to fuel its growing dominance as a game distribution model. 


Follow this blog over the next 8 weeks as we follow the real demands this is placing on worldwide network traffic.

November 4 Update: Microsoft announces sales of $400M for Halo 5 in the first week!  We've updated the calculator to show download traffic from this one game!

November 12 Update: Activision announces sales of $550M for Call of Duty, Black Ops III in its first weekend!!!  The race for blockbuster king is officially on. And what about the traffic impact?  Activision's official press release indicated digital downloads were up 100% from last year's percentage for COD.  Conservative industry estimates for last year's release were 15% digital, so we can confidently estimate this year 30% of COD's downloads will be digital.

November 18 Update: Wow - Not to be outdone, Bethesda Game Studios announced today it sold $750M worth of Fallout4 in its first 3 days.  This astounding figure is a function of year-long build-up and pre-orders for this popular game.  Super Data Research CEO, Joost Van Dreunen @_SuperData estimates digital sales at approximately 1.84M, or 14% of our estimated 12M copies sold.  Oh - regarding the headline for this blog- an astute reader commented on the use of "Torrent" and how it evokes piracy, so we changed it.  We're measuring legit downloads only!

November 24 Update: No word from EA yet on initial sales of Star Wars Battlefront.  Since the game will be releasing some DLC very soon (next week),perhaps EA is waiting for the total picture to develop.  It will certainly be hard for Battlefront to top Fallout4 which built up almost a year's worth of pre-orders, but being one of the millions of Star Wars fans myself, I'm rooting for SW all the way.  Same with Microsoft's TombRaider - a beautiful game that was previewed at E3.  The scenery is magnificent, and they've added new models of play that allow for more stealth and less direct combat (read 'violence") in this version.

Total: .2872 Exabytes

Behind the scenes it takes constant innovation and dedication for Limelight to deliver video, software and games to the digital world. We are excited to share with you that Dan Carney, our vice president of operations, has been recognized for his work to make this happen.  He was chosen as one of IDG’s Computerworld 2016 Premier 100 Technology Leaders Awards.


Each year Computerworld selects technology and business leaders who display exceptional technology leadership, foster ideas and creative work environments, envision innovative approaches to business problems, and effectively manage IT strategies.


Since joining Limelight in 2013, Dan has played a significant role in driving the company’s most important strategic business initiatives. To maximize the potential of the constantly-evolving technology landscape, he has changed Limelight’s IT culture, putting in place processes that improve results, encourage creativity and provide a challenging and rewarding work environment.


“Dan Carney’s positive impact on Limelight includes improvements to our network that customers benefit from daily, as well as internal improvements to reduce costs and improve efficiency. He has restructured our IT department to better align with Limelight’s goals, created a greater understanding of IT’s business value, mentored and guided our IT team to reduce turnover, and streamlined our teams to reduce risk. He is very deserving of this distinction and we are very proud to have him on our team.” – Bob Lento, CEO


A copy of our press release is posted to our website, and can be found here.

A copy of IDG’s press release can be found here.


Congratulations Dan!

Online education continues to grow in popularity and delivering high quality video in a multitude of formats is a real challenge.  Limelight is helping Spear Education easily deliver high quality online video as part of its innovative educational programs for dentists and their staff around the globe. Spear currently has more than 5,000 customers and features over 1,300 research-driven educational videos that dentists and their staff can access in their own offices, on their own schedules.


“The move to Limelight has also ensured that videos play when and how they should, on all devices. Because Limelight does all the encoding on the back-end and provides all the formats for any device, we have had not a single complaint from a customer about not being able to play the video.” – Shane Walsh, Director of Video Production at Spear Education


If you’d like more insight into Spear’s challenges and solutions, a copy of the press release can be found here and a complete case study is located here.

Today we released detailed insights from our second ‘State of the User Experience’ report which explores key trends in how users engage with digital experiences. Key findings include:


  • There has been a dramatic surge in time spent online with Baby Boomers, not Millennials, leading the way.
  • Social networking is rapidly becoming the most popular online activity, beating out reading news.
  • For Millennials, video is the most important aspect of their online experience.
  • Performance is still key to a great web experience, but patience is growing.
  • Consumers want a more personalized Web experience.
  • Consumers expect more performance from the mobile Web.


The report is based on a survey that collected data from 1,302 consumers chosen at random located in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Singapore, aged 18-69, who spend more than five hours per week online outside of work. A copy of the press release can be found here and here is a link to the full report.

Limelight is enabling enhanced access security to the Control Portal in the form of Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) on Oct. 27, 2015. Why the change? Security of our systems and customer accounts is a primary concern to us – and adding 2FA is the next logical step in providing an improved and simple to use solution for customers, as well as to keep up with industry best security practices and customer requests to add this additional security layer.


Two-Factor Authentication is a common industry practice used to secure important data.  The technology provides identification of users by means of a combination of two different components. In the case of gaining access to the Limelight Control Portal, the user experience the first time after 2FA is enabled is to be presented with the 2FA Get Started screen:




Limelight has chosen the industry best-in-class tool, Google Authenticator, to enable 2FA on smartphones for this purpose. The steps from this point are to download the app appropriate for your mobile device and add a Limelight account following the instructions in the authenticator app. An easy way to do this is to use the scan the barcode option which will automatically add Limelight. Now you just obtain a security code for Control and enter the token in the security code field, click verify, and the login screen will be displayed. Subsequent logins to Control will be just a matter of entering your username and password and then the six-digit token. This is important because only you have your phone and this code to complete the login process – so this is super secure!


In addition to responding to customer requests for additional security, we are adding 2FA in preparation for increased customer self-service, making it critical to ensure only authorized users have access to the Limelight Control portal.

This blog is the fourth in a series describing the use cases and business benefits of the Media and Broadcasting Solution phases. Focused on content playback to any of the devices your audience is using,  the playback phase includes the video player, user authentication, and video analytics.


Your live or on-demand video content is delivered to the edge of the CDN ready for your audience to request it. You are well aware of some of the challenges inherent in this final phase of reaching your audience. How do you ensure all the devices receive the proper video format, users are properly authenticated to gain access to content, and you will gather the actionable video analytics required for monetization?


Happily, Limelight’s video workflow includes the functionality to address these challenges:


The Media and Broadcasters Solution Playback phase includes our off-the-shelf player for RTMP and HTTP playback, enabling fast time-to-audience for your content. The player is customizable so you can apply your branding look and feel. Smart device detection happens with the player, so the CDN edge delivers the proper formatted video. The player also gathers key video analytics with detailed reports to help you understand how content is consumed, so you will know what videos are being viewed, for how long, by how many viewers, and more. We preserve all advertising analytics and integrate with Nielson, Comscore, and Omniture. URL tokenization provides multiple methods of blocking unauthorized access including URL start and expiration time and IP address ranges. To ensure delivery sites are always available, DDoS attack interceptor and Web Application Firewall mitigate attacks at all layers.


There are solid business benefits for leveraging a CDN and an integrated player to handle video playback. These include increased audience engagement due to the broadcast quality experience, secured content with protected and available delivery sites, with video analytics for monetization.


More details about the Limelight Orchestrate for Media and Broadcasters are available here.        

Calkins Media Incorporated, a broadcasting, publishing, and digital media company sought to maximize their market penetration and engagement and determine the best use video to help them do so. They chose the Limelight Orchestrate Video platform to deliver their increasing use of video which includes 4K and deliver their expanding Over-the-Top (OTT) subscription service for its five newspaper websites.


“We need flexible and easy to use solutions. Limelight’s APIs are the most flexible I’ve seen, and this makes a tremendous difference to us and our business. In addition, it’s the most advanced solution that we’ve seen that also provides us with a user interface that is easy to use.” – Jai Vyas, Director of Digital Innovation and Strategy, Calkins Media


For more details on Calkins a copy of a press release can be found here and a case study can be found here.

This blog is the third in a four part series describing the use cases and business benefits of the Media and Broadcasting Solution phases. Focused on delivering content to any of the devices your audience is using, the delivery phase includes device detection, cloud storage at the edge, and global scale security.  The final blog in this series will cover video playback.


You’ve created compelling live or on-demand video content, and now it’s time to deliver it to your audience. You are well aware of some of the challenges inherent in trying to reach viewers whose expectations are for broadcast quality video on any device, anywhere, anytime. How do you deal with the multiple streaming methods, meeting performance expectations of not just the video but the whole experience of user’s interaction with your site, audience locations that could be global, and managing your content?


Happily, Limelight has a delivery video workflow in our CDN with the throughput, global locations, and functionality to deliver your video at broadcast quality:

                                           M and B arch.png


The Media and Broadcasters Solution Delivery phase includes intelligent software at the edge to determine the requesting device type before delivering content, automatically converting video to the correct format for each device. Cloud storage integrated with the edge of the network assures requested videos are delivered from a local site if they are not available in cache. A comprehensive suite of security services are available at global scale, including SSL to secure the content, DRM to protect the content, and URL tokenization for access control. DDoS Attack Interceptor keeps your sites available to users.


The most recent functionality added to the solution is SmartPurge. There are times when despite all the planning leading up to video delivery, human mistakes occur, and an incorrect video file is loaded for delivery. When this happens, it can’t be pulled back fast enough. SmartPurge provides an immediate content purge from even globally cached content in real-time – making content globally inaccessible even as it is being deleted from cache, with the scale required for massive purges. A recent test resulted in 65M objects purged in under 5 seconds! Verification of status and history of purges in provided.


There are solid business benefits for leveraging a CDN to handle video delivery. These include a broadcast quality experience for the audience, low buffering and failure rates, anytime, anywhere delivery, and near real-time purging.


In the final blog on this series, video playback will be covered.


More details about the Limelight Orchestrate for Media and Broadcasters are available here.        

We are honored to have been selected by Streaming Media as part of its Top 100 Companies That Matter Most in Online Video list!  The list is selected by the magazine’s editorial and publishing team.

“Of all the companies delivering technologies and services in the streaming media industry, these are the 100 that our editorial team determined to be the most innovative, influential, and important.”  - Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, Streaming Media editor

Limelight has been named to this list for five consecutive years – every year since the list has been published. Our press release announcing this can be found here.


Additionally, earlier this week, Streaming Media published their annual ‘View from the Top.’  This special issue contains insights from our CEO Bob Lento and other executives on the 2015 Streaming Media 100 list.   Here is the link to Bob Lento’s ‘View from the Top.’

With OTT services gaining popularity, Chili S.p.A (“Chili”), one of the largest OTT distributors of movies, TV series and music, based in Italy, needed high quality, reliable global delivery of their content.   To help them achieve this they turned to the Limelight OrchestrateTM (“Orchestrate”) Platform to deliver video content to their 500,000 customers.



“At Chili, using state of the art technology for our OTT platform is essential to be able to provide a high-quality viewing experience and grow our business. Working with a reliable partner such as Limelight allows us to offer Ultra HD (UHD) content and reach customers wherever they are, both of which are extremely important to us.”

-        Stefano Flamia, chief technology officer at Chili


A copy of the press release is posted to our website, and can be found here.

A copy of their case study can be found here.

This blog is the second in a four part series describing the use cases and business benefits of the Media and Broadcasting Solution phases. Focused on converting content into all required formats for consumption on TVs, tablets, smartphones, laptops, game consoles and more, subsequent blogs will cover video delivery, and playback.


You’ve created compelling live or on-demand video content, and now you want to publish it to your audience. You are well aware of some of the challenges inherent in trying to reach viewers whose expectations are for broadcast quality video on any device, anywhere, anytime. How do I support the growing proliferation of mobile screens and multiple video streaming formats? Sounds like a complex workflow with lots of manual processes will be required to do this.


Happily, Limelight has conversion workflow in our CDN with massive computational resources to turn your content into the required formats on the fly, and you don’t need to pre-transcode your content.

                                                                           convert workflow.png


Limelight has a unified video Live and On-demand workflow with multiple bit rate outputs for HLS, HDS, MSS, DASH, HTTP, and RTMP. Let’s take a look at these formats and what devices support them:



  • HLS.jpg  HLS stands for HTTP Live Streaming and is Apple’s proprietary streaming format based on MPEG2-TS. It’s popular since it provides the only way to deliver advanced streaming to iOS devices. It often mistakenly gets defined as HTML5 streaming, but is not part of HTML5. This is currently the most popular mobile format. It is also supported by all Android devices as well.
  • HDS.jpg   HDS stands for HTTP Dynamic Streaming and is Adobe’s format to deliver fragmented mp4 files (fMP4). HDS allows for adaptive streaming over HTTP to any device that’s compatible with Adobe Flash or Air. Because of the high market penetration that Flash Player has, HDS is a great choice for streaming to desktop computers. However, the Flash Player is not supported by Android and iOS which makes HDS unsuitable for broadcasting to mobile devices.
  • MSS.jpg  MSS stands for Microsoft Smooth Streaming. It is supported by Silverlight, Xbox, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and some TV set-top boxes.
  • mpeg dash.pngMPEG DASH is an industry forum effort to create a standard HTTP chunked video format. The situation in that HLS, HDS, and MSS are 80% the same, but 100% incompatible. At this point in time MPEG DASH is gaining strong traction in the OTT VOD space with Netflex, Hulu, YouTube and others using it. Will DASH become the most popular standard someday? Hard to tell at this point. There remains strong support for HLS. If I had to make a prediction, in the long run it seems we may get down to two standards – HLS and DASH.


So, given that for the time being support of multiple video formats will be required, the use of cloud-based services such as the Limelight CDN is a great option for handling video conversion. The key workflow components included in the Media and Broadcasters Solution are:

  • Transcoding - On-the-fly conversion from Live or On-demand MP4 into multiple formats including HLS, HDS, MSS, and MPEG-DASH (on-demand only currently). VOD content will start to publish even before the whole file is converted.  

                                                                Transcode formats.png


  • DRM – For content security and protection
  • Ads – Integration of ads into VOD and Live feeds. Support for your ad server and linear video ads (pre, post, and mid-roll), VAST 3.0 and VPAID
  • Closed Captioning – Insertion of CC into video streams
  • Cache – Intelligent cache control and content purging


There are solid business benefits for leveraging a CDN to handle video distribution. These include a simplified video workflow and cloud infrastructure, zero time to publish your VOD content, and automatic ad insertion and closed captioning.


More details about the Limelight Orchestrate for Media and Broadcasters are available here.        

So you and your company have decided to build your own video publishing platform. You’re deep into designing and building games, and suddenly you become convinced you can connect with your users better through video; extend your brand with a more proactive video strategy. And what’s even better than that? You know that your users love to create and share videos of their exploits, so you’ll also have a ready source of content.

Limelight’s research into online video The State Of Online Video and the experience of one of the top extreme sports sites, EpicTV, together provide some quick tips for building your platform and successfully leveraging video to engage with your users:

  • Keep the bulk of your content short. Limelight’s research shows that Millennials in Limelight’s research average less than 40 seconds per video, unless they fall into the 35% or so who consistently put up with ads and multiple re-buffering in order to watch their videos all the way through.


  • Aim for repeat viewing. Your most avid video consumers watch 4-7 hours of video a week, with 30% watching over 7 hours. Plan on refreshing your site multiple times during the week, and help viewers find content similar to what they’ve watched already. 
  • Make ads skippable and personalized. Your ad campaigns need to be as tailored as your video content. Deliver ads that have meaning to your users. If you don’t personalize the ad experience, you are sending the wrong signal to your viewers about having the same interests and passions as they do.
  • Pay attention to titles. EpicTV puts extensive effort into titling new videos and then promoting them on social media. “When we decide to publish a video the first thing we do is sit down and knock out 20 different titles then pick the best couple based on the sport, the intended audience, and the timing of the release.”   Q&A With EpicTV
  • Offer something exclusive. Invest in content that is available nowhere else. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as inviting an expert commentator to talk about what he/she does with your game, or a user testimonial showing a real life application. Better yet, invest in series of videos covering “snackable” topics related to your game or product.
  • Share the wealth. Obviously you’re inviting users and fans to share their videos on your site, but how about offering prizes for best video in a certain category, or for best demonstration of a particular feature? Rewarding your video-creating fans is a great way to keep them engaged. If you have built a platform that grows in popularity, you can “share the wealth” by embedding videos people have posted elsewhere related to your area.
  • Cross promote on social media. Promote your followers’ cool stuff! You may even need more than one Facebook page. In fact, EpicTV’s Ted Endo comments, “We are spread across so many sports that we realized we couldn’t do each community justice unless we created a separate Facebook page to cater to the interests of each community.”
  • Plan for a quality viewing experience, regardless of platform. Multi device viewing is common now. 41% of online video viewers in the study expect videos to play as well on their phone as on a desktop device, so don’t allow for any major quality degradation between PC and phone viewing.

Building a video sharing platform is not easy, even if you are just doing it as a brand extension for your existing product line--but with the right broadcast infrastructure it can be easier than you think and can be an extremely valuable part of your customer engagement strategy. See also:   Four Ways to Succeed in Online Video  and Limelight Solution for Media & Broadcasters .


"The State of Online Video." (2015): 1-20. Limelight Networks. Limelight Networks, Inc., 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 24 Sept. 2015

"Q&A with EpicTV's Digital Content Manager, Ted Endo. EpicTV, 25 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.

Getting the right learning tools to visually and hearing impaired students worldwide is no easy task, especially with the disparate technology at different school systems.  We're thrilled to provide the video delivery platform to help make it easy and cost-efficient for Described and Captioned Media (DCMP) to get students the learning tools they need.


Since 1955, non-profit organization DCMP has promoted and provided equal access to communication and learning for K-12 students with visual and/or hearing impairment – across the US and to military and other US families abroad. DCMP offers nearly 7,000 full-length educational videos cost-free to teachers, parents, and service professionals, who rely on being able to provide an efficient, reliable, and accessible media delivery experience for their students.


DCMP needed to keep up with rapid changing media and delivery technologies, while minimizing costs.  They chose the Limelight Orchestrate Video platform to address these challenges.


“We need to create software and user experiences that are specific to our students’ needs, and then deliver a huge library of media assets to Macs, iPads, PCs, mobile apps and Roku. With Limelight, we are now able to scale to meet the increasing demand for online delivery of content to a wide variety of connected devices around the world. Since implementing Limelight, support issues have pretty much gone away.”

-        Kyle Sisk, Information Systems Manager at DCMP.


A copy of the press release is posted to our website, and can be found here.

A copy of their case study is also posted to our website, and can be found here.

Retail websites are the front door to the shopping experience, and have a major influence over sale conversions both in-store and out. Click here to read Retail Information Systems News’ Q&A with Limelights' VP of Operations, Dan Carney, on how retailers can create a secure, fast, feature laden, dynamic online experience that puts the brand's best foot forward.

Recently, Volkswagen AG (VW) made the news not for its cars but for all the wrong reasons. A “discrepancy in installed software” in its diesel cars led to incorrect emission readings, violating several environmental laws across the United States and impacting over 11 million cars worldwide. How severe was the damage due to “dieselgate”? Within days VW announced its plans to keep aside over EUR 6.5 billion to cover costs and service-related expenses towards the software glitch in its diesel automobiles. The CEO resigned amid the scandal. The damage was not just limited to the environment alone – the brand itself is suffering from customer/prospective customer mistrust and potential abandonment. Even the stock market reacted sharply to the issue and the VW stock nosedived. While the software glitch could be patched up rather easily by bringing the car to a service center, it could be months before all the vehicles on the road can be updated to “fix” the issue.  This clearly points to a severe lack of Over-The-Air update strategy.


While this software discrepancy is neither the first nor the last of issues related to software glitches, there is a pattern on how the traditional automobile industry responds to situations like these


All of the below recalls in 2015 were due to software glitches:

  1. Ford recalled over 432,000 cars due to software issues
  2. Fiat recalled 7800 SUVs over software glitches
  3. Fiat-Chrysler recalled over 1 million vehicles to prevent them from being hacked
  4. Toyota recalled over 63,000 hybrids due to software problems
  5. Group of “ethical hackers” were able to remotely control and “kill” a Jeep Cherokee


What is the pattern that we observe?

  1. Manufacturer discovers an issue in the vehicle attributable to a software glitch
  2. Company issues a recall and notifies customers
  3. Customers bring vehicles to service centers for a “software update” or fix
  4. Process takes months to complete and millions of dollars
  5. Company’s brand and/or reputation is damaged


Is there a way to optimize this whole chaos, and in turn prevent customers from discomfort, and save the automobile manufacturers millions of dollars?


If we look around, the problem has already been solved. In February 2014, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published two recall announcements – for the same issue affecting automobiles manufacturers. The vehicles were at risk of catching fire, and there was a safety issue due to a software problem. While GM had to spend millions on 370,000 vehicles recalled over the next few months to update the software at its designated dealerships, Tesla conducted Over-The-Air-Updates of the software system - an overnight fix.


So, what did Tesla do right here?

  • Its cars are Internet enabled not just for the “infotainment” systems
  • It could troubleshoot the cars remotely
  • It could update/patch the software Over-The-Air (OTA)
  • It didn’t require customers to bring vehicles to dealerships
  • It expedited the time-to-service and potentially saved millions of dollars


There are various challenges to execute on an OTA strategy: development of these patches, distributing them to dealerships, making them secure, and finally delivering/updating them successfully without errors on a global scale at a moment’s notice. OTA updates need not be just limited in scope to vehicle recall issues due to software glitches either. A broad OTA strategy can enable the automobile manufacturer to expedite updates, patch intrusion or security risks, and enhance the user experience. OTA software updates for automobiles should not be an afterthought, but a well-defined workflow to optimize the whole process and make it seamless: for automobile manufacturers to transparently provide the update, and to the customers to seamlessly update their vehicles wherever they are.


See how Limelight helps companies deliver millions of software updates globally: both wired and over the air.

We would love to hear from you and continue the conversation on Limelight Connect. Keep the conversation going on Twitter with @LLNW and @_AllThingsMe.