In keeping up with the unprecedented demand for bandwidth for streaming the Inauguration of Barack Obama, CNN.com relied on a peer-to-peer program in a substantial way, according to a report by Janko Roettgers at NewTeeVee.

Quoting a Turner a executive, Janko reports that more that half of the simultaneous streams were delivered through a P2P network of users who downloaded a program from Octoshape, a web plug-in for Adobe Flash.

By using the P2P program, individual computers become part of the distribution system.  This is not new to online distribution of mainstream fare.  We have reported on Pando’s work with NBC Universal.

However, some observers are taking issue with CNN’s use of the plug-in, without proper notification.  Brian Livingston at Windows Secrets blasts CNN as engaging in “deceptive marketing.”

Thing is, the necessity of the plug-in was plainly stated in the download message (image above).  Janko makes a good point that  it might have been good to give CNN users the option to download the P2P program.

The reality is the P2P will become an increasingly important component of online video distribution as demand continues to rise.

— Andy Plesser, Executive Producer