Talk about validation! Netflix and YouTube now account for 50% of all peak period Internet traffic, according to results of a new study by Sandvine. Of course, that's just for fixed devices, which are most likely desktops, TVs, OTT devices and things like cable modems, including smartphone and tablet usage in the home, and just in North America. But there's far more to the research than just that. Sandvine did some Internet traffic analysis and found out that, for online video streaming, Netflix is the boss and YouTube is trailing them. Everyone else, is way, way behind. Now this doesn't mean that people are watching more video on Netflix, it simply means that Netflix is responsible for 31.6% of all downstream traffic during the peak period. YouTube, for its part, in just under 19% (18.69%) of traffic in the same period. However, they have seen a near-double-digit jump since the last report (1st half 2013).
Real-Time Entertainment Accounts for Majority of Peak Period Traffic in North America
No surprise here. Real-time entertainment, defined as 'Streamed or buffered audio and video (RTSP, RTP, RTMP, Flash, MPEG), peercasting (PPStream, Octoshape), specific streaming sites and services (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Spotify,),' dominates the charts as well. Except for upstream, which makes a lot of sense since the whole point is to lean back meaning there's not a lot of information being sent back to the server.
Netflix Dips but Still Reigns Supreme
Meanwhile, Netflix actually had a bit of a dip in percentage and most of this report data was gathered before Netflix started their SuperHD streaming for all subscribers. Perhaps it has to do with summer ending and new television seasons starting up.
Amazingly, the other major sources of video, Amazon, Facebook, Hulu, iTunes…account for just 7.5%, combined. Does this continued domination validate Netflix's business model or is it simply a legacy thing because they were the first ones to do it right? Perhaps it's a combination of that along with other factors like Hulu's massive video advertising load and Amazon not really gaining big content license deals ahead of Netflix, even though they have a lower yearly subscription price. Seriously, recently added movies on Amazon Prime include GalaxyQuest (WooHoo!) and Sharknado, which happens to be the latest release in the list. I mean really, Sharknado? No wonder Netflix is burying them. It also doesn't have anything to do with actual video streams. YouTube, as we know, has way more.
YouTube Doubles Up Fixed Access Data
YouTube's 9% increase since the first half of 2013 doubled its overall downstream bandwidth, but still left it far behind Netflix. Sandvine chalks this up to increased smartphone and tablet use in the home and not the addition of new service offerings at YouTube like paid channels and such. Considering that a quick scan of the current YouTube paid channels list looks like all those extra cable channels you have to skip over to get to the good ones, it's no surprise.
YouTube Falling, Netflix Gaining on Mobile Networks
Now, in regards to mobile, YouTube tops them all with a 17.69% share of the peak period traffic. Of course, that's a huge drop off from the first half of the year when they were up to 31%. Netflix might have stolen some of that thunder as it was formerly at just 2.2% and is now at 5% on mobile. Facebook, web browsing (HTTP), MPEG, SSL, Google Market and even Pandora all topped the streaming video service on the mobile networks.
What that shows is the short-format that dominates on YouTube is still a favorite while on the smaller screens and perhaps less-stable mobile networks but once those devices get home and are on an always-on broadband connection, Netflix is the preferred video entertainment source. It might also have to do with available time during the day versus the evening when most people are at home instead of at work or commuting.
The Entire World is Under YouTube's Thumb, Almost
YouTube takes the top spots in both fixed devices and mobile networks across the Atlantic, which should be no major surprise since Netflix isn't as full-featured or content-packed as it is here in North America. Even then, YouTube doesn't top the peak period charts on both, getting beat out by HTTP on the mobile access chart.
However, Africa is almost zero real-time entertainment. I suppose they have bigger things to worry about like revolution, civil war, basics of survival… In fact, Windows updates rival YouTube in the 3-4% area.
Meanwhile, over in Latin America and the Asia-Pacific, YouTube continues dominance across the board (aside from HTTP on Asia-Pacific mobile access). Clearly, YouTube is the world's streaming video destination site. That still seems to mean that if you want potential worldwide viewing of your video, that's the place to put it. Duh.
Here are the charts for those regions, not to discount them, just to move things along on this rather long article.
That's a Wrap!
Ah, it feels good to be back in the director's seat, I mean the analyst seat. That said, the data for the Sandvine report, was gathered in September, which makes this more of a snapshot than a piece of trend research. Some might argue that with enough single data points the trend will emerge and I agree with that. However, the September numbers could also just be an anomaly because of when the data was collected as opposed to collating data from every single month. From their study details page:
The data gathered for these reports was collected in September 2013 and is completely subscriber-anonymous. No information regarding specific content or personally-identifiable information (including, but not limited to, IP or MAC addresses and subscriber IDs) was collected during this study.
At least there's no invasion of privacy issues aside from them knowing how many bits and bytes each subscriber sent or received, but that's no big deal, because they have no clue who each subscriber really is. There's a whole load of other data in the report like the impact of iOS 7 and OS X 10.9 Mavericks, the Google outage and more. Download the whole Sandvine Global Internet Phenomena 2H 2013 report from them, it's free.