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Sandvine: Netflix Again Tops Peak Bandwidth Traffic

14 May, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

YouTube gains as users increase accessing real-time entertainment over the Internet and mobile networks

Netflix again dominated downstream traffic during peak bandwidth use, accounting for or almost a third (32.25%) of peak (9 p.m. to 12. a.m.) downstream traffic on fixed networks during the first half of 2013, according to the latest bandwidth study from Sandvine. The subscription video-on-demand pioneer’s share on mobile networks also doubled in the past year.

Netflix’s tally was down from 33% of peak downstream traffic during the second half of 2012, which Sandvine said is more an indicator of wider adoption of the Internet for entertainment than decreased interest in Netflix.

“In fact, competing pay-video services such as Amazon Prime (1.31%) and HBO Go (0.34%) saw their relative bandwidth traffic share decline in a greater amount than that of Netflix,” said the report.

YouTube continues to be largest single source of real-time entertainment traffic on both fixed and mobile access networks, which makes the Google-owned social video behemoth the top source of Internet traffic in the entire world. It accounted for 17.11% of peak downstream traffic compared to 13.8% during the previous study last November.

Sandvine attributed the surge in traffic at YouTube (and in general) due in part to “home roaming,” the concept of offloading mobile traffic onto Wi-Fi networks. More than 20% of all traffic on fixed networks in North America is being generated by a smartphone or tablet using wireless connectivity.

Indeed, Apple devices (iPads, iPhones, iPods, AppleTVs, and Mac computers) generate significant downstream traffic in North America, with the devices accounting for over 35% of all streaming audio and video on fixed access networks.

Internet users accessing real-time entertainment over the Internet during peak traffic periods, accounting for 68% of traffic on fixed networks and 47% on mobile networks.

YouTube — spurred by user-generated short-form videos — led peak traffic on mobile networks with 25% market share, compared to Netflix at 3.83%. Netflix’s downstream traffic share on mobile networks in North America almost doubled from 2.2% in just 12 months, which Sandvine believes will increase as longer form video becomes more commonplace on mobile networks in North America.

Sandvine downplayed YouTub’s just unveiled a subscription VOD platform featuring third-party content streaming channels as a catalyst for increased bandwidth traffic.

“While YouTube has been dabbling in offering longer form videos and streaming live events, we believe none of those have played a major impact in its rise in traffic share,” the report said.

Meanwhile,  BitTorrent’s controversial file-sharing network — long seen by some as a conduit for piracy — continues to lose peak traffic. BitTorrent now accounts for just 9.2% of traffic during peak periods, and 11.1% of total daily traffic, which demonstrates a sharp decline in share, as just 18 months ago BitTorrent accounted for 18.9% of total daily traffic in North America.


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