Digital gets big-time boost

Company to deliver online entertainment

Digital Island has secured $45 million from software and hardware heavyweights Compaq, Intel and Microsoft to develop a broadcast-style streaming media system powerful enough to deliver live entertainment content to 7.5 million simultaneous viewers on the Web.

Netcasters are now limited in the number of total Netizens (mostly in the hundreds of thousands) each can simultaneously reach with its video-based streamed program-ming — something that has kept many Hollywood players from jumping into Internet broadcasting.

But with the new round of funding, San Francisco-based Digital will attempt to build a system capable of reaching more Internet eyeballs than any other previous network.

“This is the first time the Internet approaches the scale of television broadcasts for streaming content,” said Ruann F. Ernst, Digital Island’s chairman and CEO.

Support coming

Compaq, Intel and Microsoft’s combined equity investment will allow Digital Is-land to build necessary technical systems for the venture during the next two years.

Digital Island plans to deploy 8,000 servers worldwide and expand into 25 coun-tries in North America, Europe and Asia, allowing it to interact with customers in more than 160 countries.

Digital Island served as the tech backbone to the Webcast of “The Drew Carey Show,” hosted last year by Warner Bros. and ABC.com, which attempted to reach north of 500,000 Internet viewers.

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