The Netflix Effect: Video Gobbling Up Internet Traffic

Web browsing has been displaced as the biggest use of North American fixed-line internet traffic in just two short years – video and audio streams now make up at least half of the total, according to Sandvine research….

In particular, Netflix’s movies and TV shows are now the single biggest user of peak-time internet bandwidth in the region, gobbling a third more bits and bytes than even the HTTP protocol over which web browsing occurs…

It underlines how the internet is evolving in to a platform for linear, bandwidth-intensive entertainment, as well as browsing and interactions.

Latin America and Europe are experiencing the same phenomenon but less so – in Europe, video and audio as a proportion of overall traffic has remained stable over the last three years; traffic there is dominated by Bit Torrent, HTTP and YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG), in that order, with the UK’s leading VOD service from BBC iPlayer making up 6.6 percent in Britain.

But the UK, Mexico and Brazil can expect the Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) effect, too, if reports about its planned international expansion are anything to go by. Just six months after launching its first non-U.S. service, in Canada service in September, Netflix already accounts for 13.5 percent of peak-time downstream traffic in that country, Sandvine says.