Streaming Entertainment Surges to 70 Percent of Internet Traffic During Peak Periods

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Streaming video and audio now accounting for 70 percent of internet usage within North American homes during the peak evening period, according to a new report from Sandvine.

The report highlights the dramatic rise in streaming entertainment online, which has doubled as a percentage of network bandwidth in only 5 years. Streaming video titan Netflix leads the charge with a 37 percent share of overall peak internet traffic, while YouTube accounts for close to 18 percent. Amazon video has grown to 3 percent of Internet bandwidth, but even with that relatively modest percentage still represents the fourth largest bandwidth share on the Internet during evening hours.

As streaming video and audio have taken over our home Internet activities, BitTorrent and other filesharing tools have dramatically dropped off. They now represent 5 percent of Internet bandwidth usage, a drop from 31 percent in 2008. In fact, no other source of Internet traffic represents more than 7 percent of traffic according to the newly published data.

Peak network traffic on mobile devices paints a different picture. Streaming accounts for just under 41 percent of traffic, followed by social networking at 22 percent and web browsing at 13.5 percent. YouTube is the king of mobile streaming at almost 21 percent of peak mobile traffic, while Netflix holds only 3.44 percent. No doubt in some cases consumers are using their phone to check their Facebook and live tweeting their favorite TV show which is streaming on the home TV via Netflix.

Of particular interest to gamers, the report comments on the surge in game streaming service Twitch, which hit 2 million concurrent viewers in late August due to two major online game tournaments. The data reveals that due to the broadcast originating in Europe, Twitch hit its peak that day in the late morning and early afternoon, at which point it accounted for 4 percent of all Internet traffic in North America.

Sandvine predicts that Twitch will continue to grow as game streaming and eSports gain in popularity, and also plans to track the popularity of Google’s newly launched competitor to Twitch, YouTube Gaming.


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