A new report sheds some light on network traffic on this side of the Atlantic, and has some surprising findings.
The report from Canadian company Sandvine called “Global Internet Phenomena Report: Latin America and North America“, finds that Netflix now accounts for 36.5% of downstream network traffic, up from 34.5% just six months ago. The study says Netflix is part of a larger segment it dubs “Real Time Entertainment”, which now accounts for 69% of downstream bytes during peak period.
One surprising finding of the report is the growing irrelevance of BitTorrent. Despite the prevalence of attention given to piracy in the media through sites like The Pirate Bay, isohunt, bitlord and bitcomet, Sandvine found that BitTorrent traffic is falling dramatically, accounting for just 4.8% of total traffic during peak period, and just 6.3% of total daily traffic. That’s down from 31% of total traffic in 2008, says Sandvine.
“Network traffic in the Americas seems to be getting increasingly concentrated,” said Sandvine CEO Dave Caputo. “Netflix continues to rise as a percent of North American fixed network traffic. In Latin America, when you add up the properties of Facebook and Google, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Google Play, etc., these two Internet giants control over 60% of mobile network traffic. Corporate decisions by these major players, like Netflix’s recent decision to encrypt their streams or Facebook’s decision to auto-play videos uploaded to its site, can instantly and dramatically impact subscribers and all Internet access networks.”
Other findings from the report include this nugget: the release of a Xbox downloadable content pack for “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” on March 31 caused a noticeable spike in network traffic. In the hours following the release, Xbox usage accounted for a whopping 12% of the network and remained there for hours.
The report also found that music streaming is growing in terms of bandwidth share, with Pandora Radio leading the charge and services like Spotify and SoundCloud trailing considerably.
Information for the Sandvine report is gathered from a representative cross-section of fixed and mobile communications service providers who participate as volunteers in March of this year. The company notes that the information was anonymous; it had no information regarding specific content or personally-identifiable information.