Netflix now represents 15 per cent of all downloaded internet traffic worldwide, according to a Canadian report that attempts to survey the whole internet.
Digging into the numbers, the Global Internet Phenomena Report offers a sense of how people are spending their time online and global consumer trends — including video-streaming, fitness and the rise of streaming video games as a major source of entertainment.
The report was issued last week by Sandvine Corp. a Waterloo, Ont., company that provides technological services and analytics for network operators.
The report breaks internet traffic into “downstream” and “upstream” — basically, whether end users are downloading or uploading information.
Netflix is just the biggest slice of the video streaming pie. Overall, once you count in services like Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and other streaming services, video accounts for nearly 58 per cent of all “downstream” internet traffic.
Because it’s streaming video to 130 million subscribers around the world, Netflix all by itself takes up 15 per cent of downstream internet traffic, but it also represents a significant amount of “upstream” connections too, because of all the scrolling people do when they look for something to watch.
Every time a viewer pauses the video, Netflix saves their place, and to do that the computer needs to send a little data packet back to Netflix servers. Even more little chunks of data are flowing from your computer back to Netflix when you’re scrolling.
“There’s so much more interaction, and if you’re like me, when you’re going through the Netflix catalogue, you’re basically zooming through that catalogue, and every box you move over to a new video generates a new request,” Cam Cullen, Sandvine’s VP of marketing, said in a webinar analysis of the report.
But as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, CBS All Access, Hulu, and many other streaming services all compete for consumer dollars, they’re increasingly resorting to creating exclusive content that can only be viewed on one service.
Cullen said that in the past three to five years, the company has seen a steady decline in file sharing, as people flocked to legal streaming services. But these days, if somebody wants to watch The Crown, Jack Ryan and The Handmaid’s Tale, they’re probably not going to subscribe to three different services. To get around this problem, Sandvine reports that file sharing piracy is on the rise.
According to the report, 31.73 per cent of upstream traffic in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) came from bittorrent, the decentralized file-sharing system that’s popular with copyright pirates.
Cullen suggested that file sharing is a bigger issue in EMEA region because of lax copyright enforcement by internet service providers, and because country-by-country restrictions make it hard for people to legally stream popular content.
Cullen said they see the effects of piracy especially around big titles, like HBO’s hit fantasy series Game of Thrones.
“Because it doesn’t launch worldwide at the exact same instant, the moment the episodes are done, people will begin to upload that file to the internet,” he said. “And anyone that’s in a time zone …read more