Streaming video services now comprise 70% of Americans’ Internet use at night—which means that hardly anyone is using BitTorrent anymore. RIP, piracy. Arise, Sir Netflix.
According to the results of a survey by broadband services company Sandvine, Netflix is ascendant with a whopping 37% of downstream traffic. Nipping at its heels is YouTube (18%), Amazon Video (3%) and iTunes (2.8%). This has been a massive year for the streaming market, which has more than doubled its percentage of Internet traffic in the last five years.
An intriguing number now lurks at the margins of the Sandvine report. Per the Christian Science Monitor:
While the file-sharing service BitTorrent once occupied 31 percent of the total Internet traffic in 2008, this year it occupied 5 percent of the total Internet traffic during the entire day.
Holy shit. Piracy, we barely knew ye. That’s an incredible drop in BitTorrent usage, demonstrating that people are willing to pay for media services so long as they’re fast, reliable, and host prime content. As our media overlords roll out more plans to access their content without a cable box and companies like YouTube and Amazon make streaming revenue a priority, the field is only going to grow.
It’s hard to foresee a future where Netflix isn’t king, however: they just announced that they’re nearly doubling the amount of original content scripted series next year, from 16 to 31. Will we soon tell war stories of a time of piracy long since past? “In my day, we had to go to great, treacherous lengths to watch our Game of Thrones,” we’ll say, and the kids will look confused: “Was that a Netflix Original?”
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