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Introducing Media CDN—the modern extensible platform for delivering immersive experiences

April 25, 2022
Shailesh Shukla

Vice President and General Manager, Networking, Google Cloud

The  digital media and entertainment industry is experiencing dramatic growth, as audiences migrate to online experiences and content providers seek to deliver new and innovative content. According to The Global Internet Phenomena Report, streaming video accounted for 53.7% of internet bandwidth traffic, up by 4.8% from a year ago. This rapid growth of over-the-top content is straining existing infrastructure, fueling media companies’ shift to the public clouds with their global presence and greater distribution capacities. In addition, other use cases such as gaming, social networks, AR/VR experiences, and education continue to fuel the need for intelligent media services and operations. 

Today, at the 2022 NAB Show Streaming Summit, we're excited to announce the general availability of Media CDN — a modern, extensible platform for delivering immersive experiences with unparalleled scale and intelligence. Media CDN will enable media and entertainment customers to efficiently and intelligently deliver streaming experiences to viewers anywhere in the world. The same infrastructure that Google has built over the last decade to serve YouTube content to over 2 billion users is now being leveraged to deliver media at scale to Google Cloud customers with Media CDN. 

Unparalleled planet-scale reach and scale

Media CDN’s foundational advantage is the Google network. We have invested decades of resources to build tremendous capacity and reach in over 200 countries and territories and more than 1,300 cities around the globe. Modern video applications are sensitive to fluctuations in latency, so getting content closer to users enables higher bitrates and reduces rebuffers, resulting in a superior experience for the end user.  Media CDN builds on the success of the existing Cloud CDN portfolio for web and API acceleration and complements it by enabling delivery of immersive media experiences.

In addition to running on planet-scale infrastructure, Media CDN tailors delivery protocols to individual users and network conditions. Media CDN includes out-of-the-box support for QUIC (HTTP/3), TLS 1.3, and BBR, optimizing for last-mile delivery . When the Chrome team rolled out widespread support for QUIC, video rebuffer time decreased by more than 9% and mobile throughput increased by over 7%. 

Media CDN also achieves industry-leading offload rates. With multiple tiers of caching, we minimize calls to origin — even for infrequently accessed content. This alleviates performance or capacity stress in the content origin and saves costs. These features are built into the product and seamlessly support customer content hosted on Google Cloud, on-premises, or on a third-party cloud. 

“We are excited to leverage Media CDN to continue to deliver an exceptional streaming experience for Stan users across Australia. With Google’s massive network, and a deep reach into the ISPs, we are able to deliver the highest quality video for our users, no matter where they are”—John Hogan, Chief Technology Officer, Stan 

“Our mission at U-NEXT is to deliver the highest quality and most entertaining content to our users. Google Cloud’s Media CDN helps us efficiently scale our infrastructure, which is challenging with a vast library of content. Media CDN offloaded 98.3% of requests from our origin server while delivering consistent great quality.”—Rutong Li, Chief Technology Officer, U-NEXT 

Broader platform for monetization and immersive experiences  

While global distribution is critical for a high-quality end-user experience, it’s only one piece of delivering a world-class platform for immersive experiences. Media CDN offers additional capabilities to enable this transformation — ad insertion, ecosystem integrations and platform extensibility, and powerful AI/ML analytics for interactive experiences.

Streaming providers can improve monetization through integrated ad serving via the Video Stitcher API, which allows  manipulation of video content to dynamically insert ads. 

Through extensible ecosystem integrations, Media CDN connects customers to key capabilities to simplify their operations. For example, the  Transcoder API  supports custom streaming formats, while the Live Stream API transcodes mezzanine live signals into direct-to-consumer streaming formats, for multiple device platforms.

Media CDN is built with AI/ML that will give viewers more control over how they see, experience, and even interact with content. For example, sports fans watching a game can obtain real-time stats and analytics, viewers can purchase items from virtual billboards, etc. 

Cloud-native and developer-friendly operations

Media companies are under pressure to develop and deploy innovative experiences at a furious pace. Media CDN was built by developers, for developers, with automation and observability built in, giving media providers the speed and flexibility they need to integrate delivery provisioning and management into their content release processes. 

Media CDN offers comprehensive APIs and automation tools such as Terraform. Detailed, pre-aggregated metrics and playback tracing make it easy to diagnose performance across the entire infrastructure stack. Real-time visibility is provided via Google Cloud’s operations suite, and integrates with tools that developers already use such as Grafana and ElasticSearch. 

“Leveraging the same infrastructure as YouTube, Google Cloud’s Media CDN combines geographic reach, API-first architecture and integration with the Cloud operations suite. This is a transformative move that is aligned with the future of the CDN industry.”— Ghassan Abdo, Research Vice President, WW Telecom, Virtualization and CDN, IDC 

“Viewers around the world are demanding best-in-class video quality and performance across modes of consumption. A video-first delivery network can be a game changer in this space. We're excited to partner with Google Cloud and to leverage Media CDN to enable premium video experiences and customer engagements.”—Juan Martin, Founder and CTO, Firstlight Media 

Planet-scale advanced security   

Media CDN lets streaming media providers take advantage of Google’s decades-long experience delivering video safely, securely, and reliably. The platform includes deep integration with Google Cloud Armor for planet-scale DDoS protection and a rich set of capabilities to detect and mitigate attacks, prevent abuse, manage risk, and comply with regulatory or licensing requirements.  

If you want to deliver rich, immersive experiences to global audiences with an extensible, modern delivery platform, we’d love to hear from you. For more information, including technical specifications and platform architecture, please visit cloud.google.com/media-cdn. To get started with Media CDN, contact your sales team.

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