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Advertising, the Super Bowl and Ray Lewis' Greatest Feat

Does anybody realize there's a football (American football, depending upon where you're reading) game being played in between advertisements this Sunday? Perhaps it's the bitter Patriots fan in me talking, but for many, the Super Bowl is more about the ads than the game itself. And why not? It's huge business. The New York Times reported that the average cost for a 30-second spot during this year's game is between $3.7 million and $3.8 million.

Akamai is proud to be delivering Website traffic for a significant portion of this year's Super Bowl advertisers, representing a cross-section of industries and a veritable who's who of global brands. As we've done in the past, we've created the Super Bowl Advertising Index, a near-real-time visualization of aggregated Website traffic for Akamai customers who are advertising during the game. The Index will show total page views per minute to a collection of advertisers' sites that are Akamai customers, and will remain available for two weeks following the game.

Follow @Akmai on Twitter for live updates during the Super Bowl. Also, check out our Social Media Index to see how traffic to a collection of social sites is behaving during the game. Could it be a big play that drives the largest traffic spike; or perhaps a particularly buzzworthy commercial? I'm putting my money on Ray Lewis' post-game levitation above the 50-yard-line before rocketing through the Super Dome roof and off into space.

Chris Nicholson is a senior public relations manager at Akamai.

Internet of Things at CES

The mere fact that a phrase like "the Internet of things" exists essentially ensures that there's going to be a connected something or another anywhere you look at the 2013 CES in Las Vegas this week. With that in mind, I've been keeping an eye out for interesting or unusual examples of connected devices and applications at the show - a task that quickly became daunting given the sheer volume of demonstrations and expansive scale of the event.

This is by no means intended to represent a comprehensive round-up, but rather some items of note that caught my eye during the opportunities I had to check out the show floor.

Worth the weight
Withings, the France-based creators of the first Internet-connected scale, are showing a new "all-in-one body monitoring scale" (front) that tracks weight, BMI, body fat and heart rate simply by stepping on scale, while also monitoring indoor air quality. Withings won a CES Innovation Award for the product, which also features a very sleek, clean design.


CES 2013: What We're Watching

Every New Year brings with it scores of traditions, from resolutions, fireworks and champagne toasts to the Times Square ball, "Auld Lang Syne" and midnight smooches. Perhaps not quite as time honored or widely anticipated, this time of year also heraldsCES_crowd2.jpg prognostications of what the big stories and technologies coming out of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will be.

At Akamai, where so much of what we do touches the daily lives of consumers around the world, we're as interested in what's going on at CES professionally as we are personally. We're not just helping content owners deliver the best streaming video services, we're enjoying them at home and on the go thanks to our TV Everywhere solutions, for example. With that in mind, members of our digital media marketing and engineering teams took a few minutes to share what they'll be keeping an eye on during next week's confab in Las Vegas.

Kurt Michel, Director of Product Marketing, Sola Media Solutions
  • 4K TVs, or Ultra HD. Since content still can't be sourced from broadcast, it has to be served over the top. It's still fairly early, but it will be interesting to see how this and the related explosion in bandwidth plays out.
  • OLED display quality. This is awesome, high-quality video that can be displayed in a thinner form factor that's actually cheaper over the long term.
  • Any video technology on flexible media.

New Video Quality Study Examines Causes of Viewer Behavior

Online video viewers are willing to wait two seconds for a file to load before they start abandoning the content for something else. This is according to a new study of online video stream quality that analyzed an unprecedented 23 million views from 6.7 million unique viewers across the Akamai network.

The study, "Video Stream Quality Impacts Viewer Behavior: Inferring Causality using Quasi-Experimental Designs," takes a scientific look at how changes in video quality can cause online video viewers to change their behavior, going beyond just identifying correlating factors that may or may not be directly related to differences in behaviors. Jointly conducted by Ramesh Sitaraman, an Akamai fellow and professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, and S. Shunmuga Krishan, a senior system software engineer at Akamai, this is the first study to show a causal relationship between video quality and viewer behavior.

In the following video, Ramesh sheds light on the unique background on the unique nature of the study along with some of its salient points.


Akamai Rocks with Global Citizen Festival

While last month's Global Citizen Festival drew more than 60,000 people to the Great Lawn in New York City's Central Park, Akamai helped bring the live concert to a massive online audience around the world by delivering the video stream over our Sola Sphere media platform. The Festival was streamed live around the globe in HD quality by Premiere Festival Sponsor, Vividas. The event, which was organized by the Global Poverty Project to raise awareness of and fight extreme poverty, included performances by Neil Young, Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, Band of Horses and K'naan. 

We were pleased to again partner with AEG Digital Media in making another high-profile event available to online viewers who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to participate. This was a tremendous effort that was live-streamed on VEVO, YouTube, Aol, Yahoo, VH1, CMT and NYTimes.com, and broadcast by AXS TV, Palladia, Globo Brazil and Fuse. Organizers said it was the largest syndication of a live music charity concert in webcast and broadcast history. 

Those efforts paid off. Afterward, the Global Poverty Project said the event raised $1.3 billion in pledges to help its cause.
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