Kontiki, the peer-to-peer content distribution startup formed by former AOL and Netscape Communications executives, today announced that it has lined up a dozen customers, including Amazon.com and Sony, which will be using the beta version of its system.
The startups initial customers are Amazon, Electronic Arts, eRede, Jamcracker, LivePlanet, Loudcloud, Mondo Media, MP3.com, Palm, Sony Pictures Entertainment, TiVo and VeriSign.
Kontiki chairman and CEO Mike Homer - who once ran Netscapes Netcenter portal site - along with other AOL and Netscape veterans, founded Kontiki in December 2000. The mission of the Mountain View, Calif., company is to provide a cheaper and more efficient alternative to distributing content - using P2P technology - than non-P2P-based content delivery networks such as that of Akamai Technologies.
Kontikis content distribution network (CDN) uses a 1-megabyte piece of client software that manages P2P content distribution among Kontiki users PCs, while leaving content owners in control of what gets downloaded.
Kontiki said that it can deliver television-quality video to users on high-speed network connections up to 10 times as fast as other CDNs. Kontiki also said its system cuts down on Internet bandwidth: In the companys private beta test, as much as 75 percent of requested content was delivered from one of its P2P nodes, rather than a central server.
Kontiki plans to charge customers a $10,000 activation fee, and a minimum fee of $6,000 per month to manage and deliver 500,000 MB of data.
In addition to announcing customers, Kontiki today released a public beta of its software, available for download at www.kontiki.com. The company said it expects to launch the production version of the Kontiki Delivery Network by the end of the year.
In August, Kontiki announced that it has raised $18 million in funding from investors that include Angel Investors; The Barksdale Group, headed by Jim Barksdale, former president and CEO of Netscape; and Benchmark Capital. The company is named after the raft that anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl built to sail from Peru to French Polynesia in 1947. The idea, executives explained, was to capture the same spirit of independence and belief in a mission.