CNN, Netflix and NFL Use Level 3 for Content Delivery

Dec. 14, 2008 8:07 AM ETLVLT, AKAM, EGIO, NFLX4 Comments
Dan Rayburn profile picture
Dan Rayburn

Over the past few days I have been using tools to examine DNS and CNAME records for a lot of the major sites on the web, to see which CDNs are delivering their content. While there have not been a lot of surprises, I did find out that Level 3 (LVLT) is delivering videos for Netflix (NFLX) and the NFL and delivering small objects for CNN.

I have been saying for some time now that Level 3 is getting some good traction with its CDN offering, yet many ask me if that is the case, why hasn't Level 3 announced a lot of these big customers? While the company has announced a few, like the NHL, in many cases customers don't let CDNs use their name for press or marketing outreach. This is quite common amongst all CDN customers and not unique to Level 3.

But by using tools that examine DNS and CNAME records, it's not too hard to figure out which CDNs are delivering the content. That's exactly what I found out when I examined where content from Netflix and CNN is coming from. While it was always clear that Limelight (LLNW) delivers the vast majority of Netflix's content, Level 3 is also delivering some of its videos and Netflix's business is not exclusive to Limelight as I originally thought. And while Akamai (AKAM) is still delivering all of the videos that I saw coming from, many of the small objects on are being delivered by Level 3's caching network.

I've also learned that Level 3 is delivering the new NFL video on-demand service, "Game Rewind", which is really no surprise being that it is using Move Networks technology. While many may not know the connection there, Level 3 invested $6 million into Move Networks earlier in the year and as a result, gets a lot of Move's business. In addition to Game Rewind videos, Level 3 is also delivering the live stream for the NFL's Game Pass HD service; a subscription based offering that is only available to users outside the U.S. and Canada.

To gather most of the details, I used Fiddler, which runs as a “proxy” between your web browser and the network and listens to Port 80 (HTTP) or 443 (SSL). There are a bunch of other tools out there as well and if anyone knows of a Mac based tool, I'd love to know what it is.

Disclosure: None

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Dan Rayburn profile picture
Dan Rayburn is considered to be one of the foremost authorities, speakers, and writers on streaming media technology and online video business models. An avid blogger, author and analyst, Dan is often referred to as the "voice of the industry" and has been quoted in more than a thousand news items by nearly every major media outlet over the past twenty years. His blog ( is one of the most widely read sites for broadcasters, content owners, Wall Street money managers and industry executives in the online video sector. His articles have been published by the WSJ, NYT, CNN, Huff Post, Fortune, Business Insider, Gizmodo and he has been interviewed on Bloomberg, FOX, CNN, CBS, CNBC, and NPR amongst others. Due to his expertise in the content delivery market, he has also received invitations to speak as a witness at hearings by both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on topics pertaining to net neutrality, telecom mergers and content delivery architectures. He is also the Chairman for the NAB Streaming Summit conferences that take place in Las Vegas and NY.

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