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Sandvine CTO: Netflix Streaming Traffic ‘Has Peaked’

23 May, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Netflix’s percentage of peak downstream traffic on cable networks is expected to decline beginning next year as increased competition from rival subscription video-on-demand services Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime and related cable streaming offerings gain traction, an executive with Sandvine said during a cable conference.

Speaking May 22 during a panel discussion at The Cable Show in Boston, Don Bowman, chief technology officer with Sandvine, said Netflix’s downstream traffic remained relatively unchanged in 2012 at 33% on domestic cable services, but was projected to decline in 2013.

Sandvine should know. The networking equipment company based in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada last year generated significant buzz for Netflix in its annual "Global Internet Phenomena" report when it disclosed the level of peak online traffic the Los Gatos, Calif.-based streaming service commanded. The finding revealed that Netflix's 23 million streaming subscribers watched about one hour a day of content — much of it during primetime TV network viewing period.

“The market for online video was realized through the success of Netflix,” Bowman told the panel. “Service providers and content providers like HBO Go are moving quickly to regain some of the real-time streaming market share with their own services.”

Indeed, with increased competition, Netflix is aggressively expanding its global reach, in addition to acquiring original content and rolling out later this year a family subscription plan that enables members of a household to access the service from one account. 

Bowman reiterated that the trend underscores the importance of SVOD services and cable operators staying ahead of the technology curve via thorough analytics.

“Service providers want an accurate network view today so they can make strategic decisions for tomorrow,” he said.

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