Netflix 'slowly killing' file-sharer BitTorrent

DOMINATING: Paid video-streaming service Netflix, which is coming to Singapore early next year, makes up 34.7 per cent of overall North American home broadband Internet usage during evening peak hours.


    Dec 11, 2015

    Netflix 'slowly killing' file-sharer BitTorrent

    HOW big is paid video-streaming service Netflix in North America?

    It's such a big deal that, based on new data, tech news site Boy Genius Report said Netflix is "slowly killing" file-sharing network BitTorrent, which has been used to illegally download videos and files for free.

    So huge is Netflix now that its home broadband traffic during busy, peak evening hours is even larger than that for YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Video and Hulu combined, noted Boy Genius Report.

    Netflix, which is coming to Singapore early next year, makes up 34.7 per cent of overall North American home broadband Internet usage during evening peak hours.

    This puts the service at No. 1 for Internet traffic, according to data released by Canadian broadband services firm Sandvine on Monday.

    In contrast, YouTube, which is at No. 2, accounts for 16.9 per cent of traffic.

    BitTorrent makes up just 4.4 per cent of overall traffic.

    In November last year, Sandvine said that Netflix had a 32.4 per cent share, while YouTube had 13.3 per cent and BitTorrent was at 5 per cent.

    Netflix and Amazon have used Sandvine figures to highlight their market share and rank, according to tech news site Re/code. Sandvine's numbers are based on data from its more than 250 Internet service provider customers.

    BitTorrent traffic might be small now in North America but there was a time when it was much larger.

    In October 2011, Sandvine said that BitTorrent accounted for 13.5 per cent of peak period traffic for home broadband.

    Reports last year also suggested that BitTorrent traffic was even higher in 2008 than in 2011.

    Dan Deeth, an Internet trends manager at Sandvine told Mashable last year: "People have shifted their activities to streaming over file sharing.

    "Subscribers get quality content at a reasonable price and it's dead simple to use, whereas torrenting or file sharing is a little more complicated."

    Netflix can stream movies and TV shows on devices such as TVs, phones, tablets and game consoles. Prices for the service start from US$7.99 a month (S$11.22).

    As for prices in Singapore, Netflix has said that it would be similar to those in the United States, The Straits Times reported in October.

    While the relevance of BitTorrent is increasingly being diminished in North America, the Asia-Pacific region paints a somewhat different picture.

    Sandvine said in a report released in September that "Asia-Pacific is one of the last remaining regions where file-sharing traffic plays a significant role".

    BitTorrent took pole position for peak period home broadband traffic, with a share of just under 25 per cent.

    YouTube was No. 2 with a slightly smaller share of 24.6 per cent, according to the September report.

    But Sandvine said that other sources of traffic, "real-time entertainment" in particular, "will outpace file sharing going forward" in the region.

    Real-time entertainment refers to "on demand" entertainment that covers video and music streaming services.

    "One key force will be Netflix's planned international expansion into the region beginning with Japan in 2015," said Sandvine.

    Netflix is now available in more than 50 countries and has said that it plans to be present in every country by the end of 2016, reported Agence France-Presse.

    Sandvine said in September that for Austria and France - countries in which English is not a primary language - Netflix accounted for "10 per cent of peak downstream traffic, less than a year after launch", referring to data received by a computer during peak periods.

    "This rapid adoption rate in Europe bodes well for similar rapid adoption in the multitude of non-English speaking nations in the Asia-Pacific region," the broadband services firm added.