A new study suggests that video publishing services such as YouTube and MSN Video could save up to 95% of their hosting costs by implementing some kind of peer-to-peer file sharing system.
Researchers from Microsoft in collaboration with the Polytechnic University in New York analysed nine months of video downloads from their MSN service, and then simulated what would happen if it was shared among users with p2p software.
They also found that users would only have to use a small proportion of their upload capacity for videos to be available just as quickly via the peer-to-peer network as directly from MSN.
Companies choosing to implement this kind of technology would need to ensure that any shortfall in the sharing network was covered.
To allow Internet Service Providers to also cut their costs, a system could be implemented whereby only those people using the same ISP could share video. This would offer less cost saving for the original provider, but pass on some savings to the ISP.