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In the Limelight Blog

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The global audience for Esports is on track to rival the size of the American football audience by 2017. Dedicated American-style football fans number about 151 M, and the equally dedicated Esports audience is projected to reach 145 M[1] by 2017.  Though impressive on a global scale, to date North American audience size has lagged behind Asia’s Esports audience size at just under 15 M while Asian audiences have reached three times that size (49 M as of 2014) [2] .

2014 and 2015, however, saw major North American publishers and broadcasters make definitive moves to committing to the success of Esports. In December, Electronic Arts announced it was forming a Competitive Gaming Division and putting its longtime FIFA Interactive advocate, Peter Moore, in charge.  Not only did it recommit to its current competitive leagues, but it promised to develop new events “as well as the infrastructure” in order to deliver a “best in class program”.   With this announcement one of the largest, most profitable North American game publishers not only recognized the brand development potential of Esports, but moved to consolidate its franchise.

EAEsports.jpg                              CODWL.jpg                     http://

Not to be outdone, Activision announced early in 2016 that it had bought Major League Gaming (MLG), and that MLG’s senior leaders would come aboard with the acquisition.  In doing so it acquired significant tournament production and promotion capabilities with strong North American market presence.  The new venture is goaled on being the “ESPN” of Esports, meaning it will work with all games, not just Activision’s.  In fact, Valve’s CounterStrike game has been steadily building Esports audiences, and in 2016 will be the centerpiece of a tournament produced in North America with MLG.  The final will play to a live audience at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus OH. Earlier in 2015 Activision announced its Call of Duty World League - a self-contained competitive structure designed to take regular players all the way up to national competitions.  With skilled production and promotion, this incredibly popular game could fuel a sizeable Esports audience.


Equally significant for 2016 is the new arrival of two broadcast networks to Esports.  In the fall of 2015, Turner Broadcasting Studio announced it would broadcast 20 weeks of Esports competition in 2016, featuring above-named Valve CounterStrike competitions.  While it’s not clear yet when during the  summer TBS will broadcast, the timing may allow for it to overlap with major Esporting events going on Europe and North America.




And… just as 2015 came to a close, ESPN made its announcement it was setting up a separate vertical to handle Esports.  Now the website features experienced industry writers who provide full coverage of Esports teams and industry developments all over the world.  In a silent nod to the newness of Esports for American audiences, the site provides expert summaries of the of the leading games involved in Esports.


There are also indications that the business model will begin to evolve beyond free and public platforms like Twitch and Youtube.  Ashttp://http// Kotick, CEO of Activision commented about the purchase of MLG,


We think user-generated-content networks are great and widely available,” he said. “This is really focused on premium content.”


Under a premium content model, the audience experience and viewer loyalty will take on greater importance.  It’s clear that North America will be treated to a whole new wave of Esports and brand-building events that could greatly increase the Esports audience.


[1] The Global Growth of Esports. Research Report. 1.0st ed. Vol. 1.0. Amsterdam: Newzoo, 2015. Print. Esports.

[2] ibid.

HortusTV is a small startup whose mission is to create a website focused on gardening. They needed a video solution that would be easy to learn and had detailed regional analytics. Since Limelight had a great relationship with their developer (also a Limelight customer), and our Video Premier package had everything they needed (and more!), it was the perfect fit for HortusTV to grow.


“I needed a robust platform that could handle the capacity that I anticipate, with the best features and security, and Limelight is the service that my developer recommended. We researched several options and chose Limelight.”

– LIZA DROZDOV, President-HortusTV


Check out the full Case Study!


Interested in gardening videos? Go to! (Coming soon to the U.S.)

Online video consumption continues to rise while consumers’ tolerance of interruptions and ads declines according to our second “State of Online Video” research report released today.  The report reveals a rapid shift in online video viewing, especially amongst MillennialsKey findings include:

  • More than 83 percent of consumers watch on-demand video, an increase of four percent since April.
  • Consumers want to cut the cord, but they may not want to pay for Over-the-Top (OTT) content either.
  • Millennials are far more likely to subscribe to over-the-top (OTT) services.
  • Apps on Smart TVs are the go-to source for viewing video on the television. 
  • When it comes to OTT devices, Xbox is leading the market with Sony close behind.
  • When videos get interrupted, viewers abandon.
  • Fewer people are sharing their videos online but when they do, it’s on Facebook with YouTube a distant second.
  • There is a growing anti-advertising sentiment among online video viewers.


“The world of online video is anything but predictable,” said Jason Thibeault, senior director of marketing at Limelight. “Even in the few months between our April and December studies, we have seen a significant shift in how people choose to consume content. Organizations trying to take advantage of this changing landscape—from traditional broadcast to online video—must keep in mind how easily things shift as operational and business flexibility is paramount to achieving success.”


A copy of the press release can be found here and the full report here.


Going (Limelight) Green

Posted by egalioglu Dec 10, 2015

At Limelight, we pride ourselves on being green--if you’ve seen our logo, you know we have an affinity for the color green: “Limelight” green, to be precise.


But you may not know that we also pride ourselves on our “green” commitment to reducing our carbon footprint. In my role as Vice President of Planning and Logistics here at Limelight Networks, I’m responsible for ensuring that we have enough physical infrastructure capacity to fulfill customer needs while finding ways to drive greater efficiency across our many locations. Combined with my passion for going green, we have what we think is a winning strategy for fulfilling our corporate responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint and achieving great customer satisfaction. How are we doing this?


We’ve spent time looking at our data centers across the world to determine how we can use our servers more efficiently while providing reliability and capacity. Some results that you may find of interest are:

  • Increasing capacity so that our customers’ delivery requirements are met. We’re doing this by having faster network speeds, more POPs closer to where customers are.
  • Ensuring reliability for our customers. We’ve seen record-breaking traffic and have achieved a new record for both peak bandwidth and petabytes delivered.
  • Refreshing our technology by acquiring new servers, lowering fan speeds, consolidating server locations, providing internal efficiency and lessening of the impact on the environment


Thus far, through actions such as those listed above, we have been able to reduce our carbon footprint by over 20% at the sites where we have completed our work. And we’re not done yet! Stay tuned for more updates as I will be blogging quarterly to share with you more of the progress we’ve been making.





Are you interested it what it takes to build a new over-the-top (OTT) service?  Here are insights from CuriosityStream, an on-demand, subscription-based non-fiction streaming service, launched by John Hendricks, the Founder of the Discovery Channel and former Chairman of Discovery Communications.

With more than 1,000 programs on science, technology, civilization and the human spirit accessible on-demand and ad-free  – and additional titles added every day – CuriosityStream features documentary shows and series from the world’s leading nonfiction producers. The service is available worldwide in standard and HD resolution streaming, with 4K slated for spring 2016.

“We built a new OTT service from the ground up, so we turned to Limelight as a single solution to manage, secure and deliver our videos so we could focus our resources on building our streaming business. Our customers expect us to support a variety of devices such as Roku and Apple TV, native smart TV applications, tablets and smartphones. Limelight enables us to deliver video in the ideal format to each of these competing but inherently different streaming platforms.”

– Peter North, chief digital officer for CuriosityStream.


A detailed case study can be found here and a press release is posted to our website, and can be found here.

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.

December 3 Update:  Microsoft shares that 330,000 copies of Tomb Raider sold in its first week, which at 60% estimated digital distribution brings the the total game downloads closer to a third of an Exabyte!  Game director Brian Horton is happy with the game sales to date, even thought they may have been impacted by the launch of Fallout4 the same week.  Still no word on Star Wars downloads!!!

December 10 Update: Star Wars Battlefront executives are staying firm about projections of 10-13M units by March 31st.  Conservatively - this means the launch is 15.7% through its first sales period, hence our estimate of 1.5+M units sold.  At 52% digital, and using the smaller game size required for XBox One, this amounts to .015 exabyte of traffic just for this blockbuster alone.  Official sales figures for the game have not been released yet, and pricing is mixed with not all vendors following Game Stop's lead in reducing the price to $40.   Need for Speed has no plans to charge for DLC in its "always online" game released November 3rd and it will be interesting to see if this encourages game sales.  Rainbow 6 and Just Cause 3 are garnering many more positive reviews  than negative, but there are indications that Call of Duty and Star Wars may be outpacing them in holiday sales.

December 21 Update:  It's official - we've reached a third of an Exabyte.  Here's how we got to this point:  According to SteamSpy, at least 2.4M or 18% of estimated Fallout4 sales have been sold digitally for PC's, bumping download traffic for this title up 4% over previous estimates.  Forbes Magazine quotes VGChartz estimates for BlackOps III which show cumulative sales at week four hitting 12 million - 1 million higher than our estimate last week, again meaning download traffic has been significant for this title.  No update on Tomb Raider this week, but industry pundits continue to believe that its release day overlap with Fallout4 did not help sales.  We are now 5 weeks into the Star Wars Battlefront launch, with EA estimating (conservatively) that the game will sell 10M copies in 19 weeks, i.e. end of March.  So at 26% of the way, we can conservatively estimate sales have topped 2.5 million and download traffic from this game is fast and heavy.  Still no OFFICIAL word on Rainbow 6, but game is not only continuing to collect excellent reviews, but likely boosted sales this past weekend with a free referral version for Rainbow 6 Siege.


December 28 Update: It looks like download volume was heavy and so were complaints when Electronic Arts was likely hit by a DDoS attack on Christmas eve, according to VentureBeat. This brought Star Wars downloading to  a halt for a while.  So rather than assume a Christmas bump, we added another prorated week to the expected sales for Star Wars.  Ubisoft’s Rainbow Six for PS4 and PC also experienced difficulty and required patches. Coming this week the long awaited StarCraft II release.  Also, Steam announces that Tomb Raider's PC version will be available in January which will certainly bump our download chart.

Stay tuned for an early January update where we survey publishers official figures on holiday downloads!


January 8 Update: Just Cause 3, released in early December, according to one source has reached 1.55 million units, but nothing official yet from Square Enix.  Starcraft II Legends of the Void sold 1 M units in its first 24 hours, meaning that its co-launch date with blockbuster Fallout4 did little or no damage to this resilient favorite. Another week of Star Wars sales brings us to almost 40% of an Exabyte.  But that’s not all - both Just Cause 3 and Rainbow 6 have issued important patches - meaning even more downloading was needed to get the best performance out of those games.  Big story for another blog - both Sony and EA attacked by DDoS attacks during the holiday week and both attacks likely came from Phantom Squad imitating Lizard Squad’s attacks on Xbox One and PSN last year at the same time.  But both sites were back online after only a few hours. Take that Phantom - the downloads continue - go DDoS Protection Squad!!


Final Update February 1:
For this final chart we first updated Star Wars, using a weekly prorated amount based EA's claims that sales have been on track for 10M by March.  Fallout4 continues to be a juggernaut.  After initial sales of $750M, or approximately 12 million, the game went on to sell over 2.5M copies on Steam alone.  Special thanks to SteamSpy who provided this estimate in their annual summary charts.  Activision's Call  of Duty, Black Ops III had a strong PC release, and we added SteamSpy's estimated sales of more than 700000 copies for the PC to this title's estimate also.  As if to confirm this year's crossover from mostly physical to mostly digital, SuperData research just announced worldwide sales of digitally downloaded games topped $61B in 2015 with Activision, Tencent, and Supercell the dominant sellers of digitally downloaded games.  Sadly we've come across no credible reports regarding Need for Speed sales, digital or otherwise so this entry remains blank.  Admittedly, the Microsoft 60% digital estimate is aggressive, and there has been industry controversy regarding the proportion of digital to  in-store sales.  Overall, however, we're confident that digital downloading for these games during the 2015 Holidays totaled more than 40% of an Exabyte-an epic amount of traffic.


The next big month in downloads?  It looks to be April of 2016 following the release of many games announced last year at E3, but delayed until the early months of 2016.  Questions?  Comments? Challenges? Happy to hear from readers any time .  Meanwhile - Game on!

Total:  .41416103 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.