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The Open Championship Selects Akamai HD Network to Deliver Global Streaming of 150th Anniversary Event
Akamai Technologies Limited (NASDAQ: AKAM), the leading provider of cloud optimization services, today announced that the 150th Anniversary Open Championship at St Andrews, Scotland, will for the first time be viewable in HD online. It will be delivered over Akamai's HD Network at www.opengolf.com, in partnership with Akamai's HD Network partner and reseller Endava.
The Akamai HD Network and Akamai HD for iPhone solutions will support the streaming of two aspects of The Open Championship, between 14th and 18th July 2010 at www.opengolf.com. The first is The Open Champions' Challenge, which is a special event on 14th June to celebrate 150 years of The Open Championship. All living Past Champions have been invited to play four holes of the Old Course, with the winning team receiving prize money to be donated a charity of their choice. In addition, www.opengolf.com's three-hole channel, which has been previously streamed by broadcasters, will be available online in selected territories in HD, giving fans an experience that they cannot get anywhere else.
"We want to give viewers around the world the best possible access to this very special anniversary Open Championship," said Adam Lynch, The R&A's Head of Digital Media. "It was essential to ensure that users not only got the best quality picture we could deliver, but the most reliable, irrespective of whether they were using a PC or the Open Championship iPhone application. We were confident that Akamai could meet those requirements."
This is the first time HD streaming has been made directly available by The R&A. One of the key advantages of choosing the Akamai HD Network, was not only that it delivers content as close to the viewer as possible through Akamai's global platform of servers, but that it is able to instantly react to changes in demand and viewer bandwidth availability through adaptive bitrate streaming.
The R&A will also be using Akamai's Media Analytics solution to gain valuable real-time insights into how online viewers are interacting with their content and brand to inform decision making and uncover opportunities for future events.
"The Open Championship is a globally-recognised sporting event that attracts millions of viewers through traditional broadcast networks," added Suzanne Johnson, Director of Industry Marketing at Akamai. "The Akamai HD Network is designed to handle the quality and scale required to meet the demands of such an event, and offers the necessary business tools, including analytics and security features, to help customers run their online businesses effectively and efficiently."
Measurable benefits seen by customers delivering content across the Akamai HD Network include:
Longer viewing times. When higher bitrates are offered, customers are finding that user viewing times increase by 30 to 50 percent.
Fast video start-up times. With better mapping and servers in more than 65,000 more locations and networks, content delivered across the Akamai HD Network is delivered closer to the consumer and starts up more quickly.
More viewers are experiencing true HD quality video. Due to higher throughput on the Akamai HD Network, content owners are able to reach 100 percent of their intended audience by delivering a TV-like experience for all consumers, regardless of connection, by delivering bitrates that match the consumer's environment.
Increased use of interactive features. When made available, up to 90 percent of consumers use these tools as they enable popular and familiar features complementary to TV such as DVR and multi-camera angle viewing for live events.
About The R&A
Based in St Andrews, The R&A is golf's governing body and organiser of The Open Championship. The R&A is committed to working for golf and operates with the consent of 141 organisations from the amateur and professional game and on behalf of over 30 million golfers in 126 countries.
The Akamai HD Network
Akamai's HD Network was developed with the goal of delivering the highest quality experience at broadcast audience scale across the industry's most popular devices, platforms and runtimes, and is optimised to enable large-scale broadcasters, sports leagues and film distributors to increase audience engagement and expand revenues. Content owners are using Akamai's HD Network to deliver live and on-demand content while leveraging a highly-available and fault tolerant infrastructure of tens of thousands of HTTP servers. The Akamai HD Network supports the most popular runtime environments including Flash and Silverlight, as well as delivery to HTML5 browser-based players and applications on devices including the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Akamai was the first to globally launch a commercial service based on Microsoft's Internet Information Services (IIS7) Smooth Streaming technology, enabling a higher quality video experience for the Silverlight runtime. The Akamai HD Network will support Adobe's upcoming HTTP Dynamic Streaming for Flash®, and Akamai is engaging customers to test these capabilities. For more information on Akamai's HD Network, please visit www.akamai.com/hdnetwork.
Akamai® provides market-leading, cloud-based services for optimizing Web and mobile content and applications, online HD video, and secure e-commerce. Combining highly-distributed, energy-efficient computing with intelligent software, Akamai's global platform is transforming the cloud into a more viable place to inform, entertain, advertise, transact and collaborate. To learn how the world's leading enterprises are optimizing their business in the cloud, please visit www.akamai.com and follow @Akamai on Twitter.