Netflix and streaming services are dominating internet traffic while piracy-focused file-sharing programs are used less and less.
Netflix is currently the go-to service for movie and television streaming, but only recently have we started realizing how significant that change is. According to a report from by Sandvine, for example, the streaming website now accounts for 34% of peak internet traffic. More importantly, its meteoric rise has created a new demographic that Sandvine calls "cord cutters", users who are likely drop traditional television packages for online-only streaming. These cord cutters only make up 15% of internet users, but on the whole account for 54% of all internet traffic, peak hours or otherwise.
Netflix's staggering online presence isn't in itself new information; in fact, that figure has grown by only 2% since 2013. What's truly significant is the behavior of cord cutters on the internet. These users download approximately 212 GB each month, translating to roughly 100 hours of viewable content. More importantly, most of this viewing seems to come from legitimate sources; use of file-sharing services and P2P programs dropped to 8.1% of internet traffic from 31% in 2008. In other words, simply offering legal alternatives to piracy was enough for the internet to embrace them wholeheartedly. Who would have thought?
Outside of the data on Netflix, there are several interesting statistics to consider. Sports fans are turning to streaming services as much as anyone else, with the World Cup predicted to take 40% of Latin American mobile network traffic. Meanwhile, Snapchat currently generates more activity in North America than any other third-party messaging app, while Twitch is one of the top 15 applications featured across fixed networks. Sure, this data will probably be more useful to marketers than the average internet user, but it's fascinating to see how online entertainment is changing nonetheless.