AT&T Has a Thing for Media

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AT&T Has a Thing for Media
A. Turner - August 7, 2000

Event Summary

In July, AT&T announced its "Ecosystem for Media," a network services platform with a co-marketing and distribution program that will allow companies to create, manage and distribute audio and video to millions of users over the Internet. Working closely with Inktomi, Microsoft, RealNetworks and other industry leaders, AT&T will leverage its data and Internet infrastructure, digital media production capabilities and broad network reach to build a unique suite of media services.

AT&T's Ecosystem for Media will enable services such as website acceleration, streaming media, distance learning and media-enriched e-commerce. The initiative is currently in controlled introduction with general availability slated for the first quarter of 2001.

Content Delivery Services:
AT&T's Ecosystem for Media provides customers with content distribution options. For businesses that want to use the public Internet to distribute their content, AT&T's Intelligent Content Distribution Services provide customers options for accelerating website performance, video-on-demand and webcasting capabilities. For businesses with enterprise-class networking needs that want to distribute their content within a private network, AT&T offers its high-speed packet services.

Internet Based Streaming Media Services:
AT&T's streaming media services provides a service for reaching large audiences over the Internet. One-to-many multimedia applications operate at improved levels by optimizing network bandwidth and efficiently managing traffic destined for multiple endpoints. In the next 18 to 24 months, AT&T anticipates their streaming media infrastructure will scale to support 10 million simultaneous Internet users.

Private Data Network Services:
To meet the growing need of enterprises to distribute large media files throughout their private corporate networks, AT&T announced its Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) multicast capabilities. By providing a "universal port", AT&T's ATM multicast service takes content from a single ATM virtual circuit and replicates it within the AT&T data network for distribution to multiple end sites.

Media Management Services:
To provide businesses with a turnkey solution, the AT&T Ecosystem for Media will offer customers the ability to encode and manage their digital media. For encoding services, the company will use AT&T Broadband Services' Digital Media Centers to digitize 'traditional' media, such as VHS or audiocassette tapes, and convert them for use as "downloadable" or streaming Internet media.

Content Creation Services:
AT&T's Ecosystem for Media also will include the ability for customers to create original content through its Digital Media Centers. Located in Denver, New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong, these centers offer extensive production capabilities including studio, mobile and post-production services.

Ecosystem for Media Co-marketing Program:
AT&T is launching a co-marketing program for the Ecosystem for Media designed to ensure the success of businesses who are creating, managing or distributing digital media. The program will allow companies who purchase AT&T's Intelligent Content Distribution services and who host in AT&T data centers to leverage the power of AT&T's brand through multiple levels of co-marketing support.

AT&T Ecosystem for Media Summary:
The AT&T Ecosystem for Media is built on a foundation of core data and IP infrastructure resources:

  • AT&T's Internet Data Centers (44 centers planned for hosting and co-location services).

  • OC-48/OC-192 IP backbone.

  • A portfolio of broadband services including Cable Internet Access, Digital Subscriber Line and Fixed Wireless services.

  • A portfolio of private label and virtual Internet Service Provider offers.

  • VPN offers with access to 59 countries around the world. Value-added design and implementation professional services from AT&T Solutions.

  • Monitoring and management services.

Market Impact

AT&T ( is among the world's premier voice, video and data communications companies, serving more than 80 million customers, including consumers, businesses and government. AT&T has annual revenues of more than $62 billion and 160,000 employees, and provides services to customers worldwide. This global reach, depth of resources and strategic partnerships will help establish their media offerings.

With industry giants such as Microsoft (and their recent .NET initiative) endorsing the Internet as a medium for enabling applications, infrastructure support offerings will become more important. The development and distribution of complex media (video streaming, conferencing and related media) is on the increase. As AT&T's ecosystem offerings are designed to support the needs of application and media providers, they are positively positioned to take advantage of this quickly developing market.

User Recommendations

Application Service Providers (ASP's), Independent Software Vendors (ISV's) and others should find AT&T's recent offerings attractive. The infrastructure offerings defined in AT&T's original "ecosystem" announcement (see our related article: "AT&T's Ecosystem") coupled with the latest media services provide users a positive mix of services. Also worth exploring is the potential co-marketing opportunities.

As AT&T was early, if not the first, to announce their infrastructure offerings, it will be interesting to see how, and with what programs, the other telecommunications companies respond. Nortel, Lucent and Worldcom all recently introduced similar infrastructure programs. If you are considering a solution from one of these organizations it may be worth identifying their future plans and comparing.

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