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Increasingly popular multimedia services are expected to play a dominant role in the future of the Internet. In this context, it is essential that content-aware networking (CAN) architectures explicitly address the efficient delivery and processing of multimedia content. This article proposes the adoption of a content-aware approach into the network infrastructure, thus making it capable of identifying, processing, and manipulating media streams and objects in real time to maximize quality of service (QoS) and experience (QoE). Our proposal is built on the exploitation of scalable media coding technologies within such a content-aware networking environment. This discussion is based on four representative use cases for media delivery (unicast, multicast, peer-to-peer, and adaptive HTTP streaming) and reviews CAN challenges, specifically flow processing, caching/buffering, and QoS/QoE management.