Implementing a multi-CDN strategy — i.e. working with multiple content delivery network (CDN) providers at the same time — is becoming increasingly important for any video streaming service looking to remain competitive.
What used to be an approach reserved only for the largest global video platforms is now something even the smaller players in the industry should be considering. From improving video and platform performance to reducing churn-inducing service downtime, the benefits of having the extra bandwidth and coverage are simply too great to ignore.
Here are the main 4 reasons your streaming business needs a multi-CDN strategy.
Avoid outages and reduce churn
As evidenced by the news headlines that pop up from time to time, CDNs are known to fail once in a while. And, when one does, the consequences can be devastating, leaving customer services off-line for hours or even days on end.
Depending on a single CDN provider makes your streaming platform extremely vulnerable to such outages. And the problems not only come with long periods of downtime. All it takes is for a few minutes or even seconds of no service for all the progress you have made over months to be erased.
With the abundance of streaming services and content available, consumers are growing more demanding and less willing to tolerate anything short of a flawless experience. If your single CDN fails to deliver and that impacts the viewing experience, your users are more likely to move onto another platform and churn.
A multi-CDN strategy solves this problem by letting you shift to another, well-functioning CDN whenever your current one fails or is about to fail.
But, even if a CDN is working properly, chances are that you will run into a network bottleneck every now and then. After all, CDN providers need to service all their customers at the same time, and their network can get saturated during peak consumption times.
With a single CDN at hand for a given region, you are liable to slowdowns in distribution that impact your users’ quality of experience and compromise the perception of your service. With multiple CDNs to choose from, you can avoid momentary chokepoints by switching to a less crowded CDN provider.
This point is especially relevant if you have a resource-intensive streaming service that requires a lot of bandwidth. Yet, even the nimblest streaming platforms can benefit from having redundant distribution options so as not to be at the mercy of fluctuating content delivery chains.
Enable a global product strategy
If your streaming products cover several countries or large regions, relying on a single CDN provider will most likely not be the best option.
Like mobile phone carriers, CDNs have geographical areas where they are more reliable and others where they simply do not have good coverage. Plus, like the vast networks that they are, CDNs can often experience issues in only one part of the network when local malfunctions or events like floods or thunderstorms occur.
All in all, with a single CDN, you can find yourself enjoying great service in one region while suffering problems in another one. That’s of no use when what you want is a reliable content delivery solution for all your markets.
With a multi-CDN strategy, you can make sure you are always using the best CDN for each user, region, and device at any moment — you can provide a cohesive product experience across borders and bolster your brands.
Tailor distribution to your budget and needs
Last but not least, with a single CDN provider you are dependent on that service for all intents and purposes. This means you are more exposed to less advantageous service-level agreements and must abide by your mutual contract commitments whenever you require their services.
With several CDNs from which to pick, you can select the CDN that best suits your specific goals at that particular moment. Whether you want to optimize for cost or for quality, you can do so while fulfilling your agreements with each one of your providers.
For instance, a single CDN can be enough to service your customers, but at too high a price. Meanwhile, cheaper CDN options are usually available for certain regions and Internet service providers (ISPs). With a multi-CDN strategy, you can build a cost-effective portfolio of CDNs to reduce expenditure while protecting quality and network resilience.
In other words, implementing a multi-CDN strategy means having the freedom to tailor your content delivery to your audience and business needs — a major game-changer in an industry where every penny and user count.
Already invested in multi-CDN? Learn how to unlock smart content distribution and automatically switch between CDNs with NPAW’s CDN Balancer.