Streaming Options Impact Bandwidth Consumption Rankings

With the dramatic increase in the amount of video streaming from Internet-based apps, Netflix has ceded its position as the No. 1 consumer of bandwidth. That’s according to Sandvine’s 2019 Global Internet Phenomena Report, which added that HTTP media streaming accounted for 12.8 percent of downstream Internet traffic globally in the first six months of 2019, whereas Netflix accounted for 12.6 percent. In the Americas, Netflix’s downstream traffic in the same period dropped to 12.9 percent from last year’s 19.1 percent.

Variety reports that, according to Sandvine, “this year, the aggregate volume of the long tail is actually greater than the largest of the short-tail providers.” The report also stated that, “the rise in usage of HTTP media streaming from content owners (including cable or broadcast TV channels) also comes amid growing popularity of piracy services,” with 4 percent to 25 percent of subscribers “accessing at least one illegal video stream on a weekly basis on ISP networks in North America, Europe and the Middle East.”

Sandvine reported that Netflix’s drop in the share of downstream traffic in the Americas “reflects the growing consumption of other streaming options, both paid and free, with the biggest growth coming from operators’ own Internet-delivered TV and video services (which accounted for 15 percent of downstream traffic in the region).”

Other shares of downstream traffic in the Americas, for that same six-month period, include 6.3 percent for YouTube; 2.6 percent for PlayStation; 2.6 percent for Xbox Live; and 2.2 percent for Facebook.

Variety notes that “Netflix’s decline in share of bandwidth consumption doesn’t suggest people are streaming less video from the company … [because] Sandvine doesn’t report actual bandwidth usage; rather, its studies compare relative share of traffic delivered over Internet networks.” In fact, said Sandvine, Netflix is “generally the most efficient video-streaming service on the market.” Further, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Sony’s PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, and YouTube TV — all services aimed at cord-cutters — are “still a drop in the bucket.”

Sandvine also revealed that “video was 60.6 percent of total downstream volume of traffic on the Internet, up 2.9 percentage points from 2018,” followed by web traffic with a 13.1 percent share (down 3.8 points year over year), gaming at 8 percent, social media at 6.1 percent and file-sharing at 4.2 percent.

The top 10 applications worldwide, by downstream bandwidth consumption, are HTTP media streaming (12.8 percent); Netflix (12.6 percent); YouTube (8.7 percent); operator IPTV (7.2 percent); HTTP download (4.5 percent); HTTP TLS (4.4 percent); HTTP (3.0 percent); Facebook (3.0 percent); PlayStation download (2.8 percent); and BitTorrent (2.4 percent).