Netflix’s Streaming Traffic is Up 35% from Last Year

Senior Editor
05.15.13 18 Comments

In a world with 17 different shows about pawn shops and various methods of being people’s used shit for a living, it’s hard to believe that an alternative to basic cable would be so popular, but apparently it’s true. According to a new report, Netflix’s online traffic is up 35 percent since last year. My team of crack researchers have traced the bump to Kate Mara’s bewbs. …Wait, check that, it looks like they’ve just been tracing the bumps of Kate Mara’s boobs. My mistake.

Netflix continues to be the biggest hog of Internet bandwidth in North America, with its video traffic jumping more than 35% in March from a year earlier, according to a new study.

The video-subscription company accounted for roughly one-third (32.3%) of peak-period downstream traffic on fixed-line broadband networks in North America, about the same as last spring, an analysis by network equipment vendor Sandvine found.

YouTube’s video usage has surged at an even faster pace in the past year, now accounting for 17.1% of downstream Internet traffic in North America, up from 13.8% a year ago, according to Sandvine’s study.

So 13.8 up to 17.1 percent is a bigger bump than 35 percent… You know? I’m just going to assume that’s correct because I don’t want to try to remember math.

At the same time, overall average monthly consumption by broadband users in the region rose 39% year over year, to an aggregate mean of 44.7 gigabytes. That means Netflix’s overall data load increased in line with that because its share remained approximately the same and YouTube’s bandwidth growth would have exceeded that rate. (Sandvine doesn’t report data usage estimates by application in absolute terms.)

Ahhh, okay.

Netflix said it streamed more than 4 billion hours of video globally in the first quarter of 2013, compared with 1 billion per month last June. The company has packed on customers, adding about 2 million U.S. streaming subs to stand at 29.17 million domestically — making it bigger than HBO in that regard.

Netflix could grow to be two to three times the size of HBO, to 60 million to 90 million subscribers worldwide, topper Reed Hastings said on the company’s earnings call with analysts last month. “We’ll really only know that with any confidence when we get there,” he said. [Variety]

It’s hard to believe this is the same company that once upon a time tried to rename their DVD service “Qwikster.” I wouldn’t put much stock in their hypotheticals about doubling and tripling the size of HBO, but then, I’ve learned never to bet against the internet’s love of Arrested Development.

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