27 October 2011

Netflix Now 33% of Peak Internet Downstream Traffic

Sandvine, the Internet traffic analysis group, noted in their recent report (.pdf) that Netflix now represents 32.7% of peak Internet downstream traffic in North America. This figure is up from 29.7% in their May report and 20.6% from their report last fall.

Despite all of Netflix's high profile missteps since the spring, no one believes that the video streaming genie is going back into the bottle. If nothing else were driving this trend, there are certainly more iPads and other tablets this fall than last fall and the same is true for Internet-connected game consoles, Blu-Ray players, TVs and Roku boxes.

More interesting the Netflix story is some of the detail in the report.  What Sandvine calls "Real Time Entertainment" represents 60% of peak downstream traffic -- that includes Netflix, but also includes YouTube, Flash Video and real time gaming.  More interesting still is that only 45% of the Real Time Entertainment traffic is going to a computer; 55% is going to a game console, connected TV, tablet or mobile device. Given that a bigger screen requires more data to provide a good looking picture, it isn't mobile devices that are driving this demand for downstream bits.

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