It’s already well-established that, of all the services and sites that eat up internet traffic in North America, Netflix ranks pretty high. There’s no other entity consumers are using more right now to get the most out of their internet service than Netflix.
But, just how much traffic does one need to be consuming in order to be considered #1? Well, it turns out a lot.
According to a new report provided by Canadian bandwidth-management systems vendor Sandvine (via Variety), Netflix accounted for 36.5% of all the North American bandwidth usage at peak hours. Comparatively, YouTube used 15.6%, simple web browsing made up 6%, Facebook consumed 2.7%, Amazon Instant Video clocked 2.0%, and Hulu snaked by with 1.9%.
Clearly, when it comes to getting people to watch content, no one is making better use of their marketing abilities than Netflix. Even if we sometimes question the future of the company and its secretive tactics, the streaming giant can’t be stopped. But how does one service amount for over a quarter of all internet traffic? Well, the devil’s in the details in this case.
Right off the bat, it’s worth noting that Netflix is an entity that commands the attention of its viewers. If one is watching Netflix, they likely aren’t browsing other sites or watching other things while doing so. On the flip side, users are often known to be browsing other sites while watching YouTube videos (examples of this including when consumers are listening to music through the service while browsing elsewhere). Netflix’s demanding of attention forces the watcher to stay on the service long after the time they may have left another. “Oh, the episode’s over. Guess I’ll start another before bed.” We’ve all played that game only to realize we’ve binged an entire season of The Walking Dead in a single overnight period.
There’s also the matter of the video quality coming from Netflix. Some of the high bandwidth is also inflated by the fact that Netflix has some the highest quality streams in the business, thus meaning more data being bumped through the pipeline at a given moment. One second of Netflix may be worth 50 megabytes while one second of YouTube or Amazon may be only worth 15 or 25. Of course, that high quality product is why people come to Netflix in the first place.
Finally, Netflix is also home to some of the most in demand content at the moment. Daredevil, Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Netflix has the critically-acclaimed, original material that people want to see (and that everyone seems to be talking about).
It's not just original content, either. Programs such as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Arrow are likewise available on the streaming service, making it a place where fans can catch up on (or re-live) hot shows before they find themselves left in the dust of social conversation. When all of these things are factored together, it’s no surprise Netflix is currently the top dog of internet bandwidth in one of the most interconnected continents in the world.