Feeds

Netflix overtakes Bittorrent as traffic champ

Copyright-holders should wake up and smell the coffee

Top three mobile application threats

Is solving the copyright "wars" really so difficult? New traffic research shows that Netflix has overtaken Bittorrent as America's favourite internet application, knocking http into third place. "P2P is here to stay," note the authors in Sandvine's Global Internet Report, Spring 2011 edition, which shows that demand for legal, paid-for stuff is the single biggest internet traffic trend.

Copyright-holders who are slow to bless legal services, by contrast, find themselves being swamped by pirates.

Netflix now accounts for 24.71 per cent of peak time aggregate traffic in the US, pushing Bittorrent into second place with 17.23 per cent. By contrast, the Sandvine numbers show that in markets where there are no legal services, pirate services flourish. In Latin America, file-sharing program Ares grabs 15.48 per cent of peak-time (fixed line) internet traffic, behind http. In Europe, Bittorent rules, with 28.4 per cent of peak-time traffic, ahead of http. Here, YouTube grabs third place, with almost 12 per cent of peak-time traffic.

(Bittorrent accounts for more than half of all upstream traffic at peak time, but downstream traffic is greater by around 4:1).

Netflix launched as a DVD rental service in 1999, and added video-on-demand as an option for existing subscribers 2007. The streaming service doesn't support Linux, and is locked down with DRM, but that doesn't seem to have made much difference: it has been an incredible success. Earlier this year, it announced it was commissioning original content – a version of the 20-year-old BBC drama House of Cards.

US: peak-time, fixed-line traffic share

Europe: peak-time, fixed line traffic share

The fact that Netflix sells a bundle seems to me to be the most overlooked factor here. If you join, you not only receive DVDs in the post, but also receive "free" viewing on your Mac or PC, or via a games console or Netflix-enabled TV (Or even a streaming-enabled hard drive). A payment of $7.99 a month (less than a fiver in sterling) buys you unlimited streamed movies. It's good value, and lots of people want in. And when people consider something to be good value, they put their hands in their pockets.

The research shouldn't just be a wake-up call to copyright-holders, though. Cable companies which are slow to update their movie and TV catalogues risk being overtaken. And Google, which spent billions acquiring the world's biggest collection of useless junk, and billions more building a private internet to deliver it all around the world, must wonder why it bought such a basketcase. The collection of lip-syncing teenagers, and sneezing pandas, doesn't really have the same money-making potential.

Google knows this, and has been playing nice with Hollywood. But Google has two conflicting interests. Its economic engine is its advertising business, and its greatest area of expertise the paid search infrastructure around that. While Netflix can offer attractive bundles, and existing players make buying stuff easy with one click, Google finds itself with the wrong content, the wrong brand, and wrong business model: quite a collection of handicaps. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.