Netflix, YouTube Activity Eclipses Peer-To-Peer Downloads In US
November 11, 2013

Netflix, YouTube Activity Eclipses Peer-To-Peer Downloads In US

Enid Burns for - Your Universe Online

On demand video is gaining in popularity on the internet, at the expense of "experience later" applications such as peer-to-peer file sharing. That's according to the "Global Internet Phenomena Report: 2H 2013" released by Sandvine.

Video services such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video are gaining ground against a landscape that previously thrived with peer-to-peer download activity. The streaming video, or on demand-style services, account for 50 percent of traffic in North America. While streaming services have grown, experience later video has continued to dwindle.

"For the first time ever, peer-to-peer file sharing has fallen below 10 percent of total traffic in North America, which is a stark difference from the 60 percent share it consumed 11 years ago," said Dave Caputo, CEO of Sandvine, in a corporate statement. "Since 2009 on-demand entertainment has consumed more bandwidth than 'experience later' applications like peer-to-peer file sharing and we had projected it would inevitably dip below 10 percent of total traffic by 2015. It's happened much faster. This phenomena, combined with the related rise in video applications like Netflix and YouTube, underscores a big reason why Sandvine's business has grown beyond traffic management to new service creation."

Availability of on-demand or streaming video services such as Netflix, as well as increased bandwidth availability makes streaming a more attractive option. Consumers can be more spontaneous, instead of planning to watch something later by downloading it.

This new trend could signal a change in the business model for cable providers, content creators and streaming services.

"This will continue to accelerate unless something cheaper or simpler comes along to stop it," Charles King, principal analyst of PundIT told RedOrbit. "That certainly qualifies as bad news for cable companies but it's also likely to put a dent into TV-centric strategies by vendors, including Apple and Intel, though Google's Chromecast could put that company into pretty good stead."

There is some indication that streaming services have experienced a slowdown.

"Since the Sandvine report from H1 2013, Netflix has actually seen share of traffic decline marginally - although not significantly enough to be worth reading too much into," Richard Broughton, director, broadband at IHS Technology told RedOrbit.

Netflix continues to provide new and expanded services to its customers, which will shift attention away from peer-to-peer activity. Netflix supplies 31.6 percent of streaming content traffic in North America while YouTube supplies 18.6 percent. Together the traffic accounts for over 50 percent of downstream traffic on fixed networks, according to the report.

Netflix introduced its service in Europe less than two years ago, and is quickly picking up customers, and therefore traffic. Sandvine reports the service accounts for over 20 percent of downstream traffic on certain fixed networks in the British Isles. The report states it took almost four years for Netflix to achieve such volumes in the US, of course the population in that market is larger.

P2P file sharing accounts for less than 10 percent of total daily traffic in North America. Five years ago P2P activity accounted for over 31 percent.