According to WEIRD, Netflix streaming movies make up most of the content going through the U.S.’s internet pipelines than any other service, including peer-to-peer file sharing, which held the top spot, up until now.
What this means:
For the first time, perhaps in the internet’s history, the largest percentage of the traffic on the net is now paid content, and not the free ones. In addition, the increase in streaming media decreased the percentage of traffic to websites and social networking sites, but so far, there is not much evidence out there showing a decline in number of visitors to such sites.
Streaming real-time entertainment has also peaked, with interests in events such as the “March Madness” NCAA basketball tournament, or the royal wedding of William and Kate. and PGA golf.
Netflix accounts for 22.2% of all U.S. broadband traffic compared to BitTorrent’s 21.6% share. And at peak times, Netflix hits 30% of all traffic, a bounce of 44% over results from the fall. Note: that these numbers are about percentage of usage, and say nothing about what percentage of “capacity” the net has. So, an internet brown-out due to people streaming way too much, all at the same time, is unlikely.
What becomes of all this?
One, internet traffic is cheap. Netflix “stream only”, all-you-can-watch subscription costs just $9.00 per month.
Two, peer-to-peer file sharing, mainly consisting of people trading copyrighted files, isn’t going to disappear anytime soon – that’s unless Hollywood gets the message and makes more of the back catalog items and new releases available for rental and online streaming.
So, is cable fast becoming a relic of the past? Yep, it sure looks like it.