updated 12:19 pm EST, Mon November 11, 2013
Video streaming sites huge, more than half of peak traffic
Video streaming services Netflix and YouTube together account for half of the downstream traffic on the Internet in North America during peak hours. A new study pointed out by Cnet. New numbers from the twice-yearly Global Internet Phenomena Report found that Netflix and YouTube took up 50.31 percent of downstream Internet traffic during peak usage hours. Of that, Netflix is by far the larger contributor, accounting for nearly a third of all peak North American traffic on its own.
Netflix is the biggest contributor to downstream traffic, with 31.62 percent share, and YouTube is behind it with an 18.69 percent share. The rivals to the two services, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu, accounted only for 1.61 and 1.29 percent of downstream traffic.
Despite Netflix's success, its biggest wins don't appear to be driven by its recent wave of original series. Those series have gone on to some critical acclaim, but these network findings appear to show that that content amounts to only a slight portion of Netflix's overall traffic.
The coming year is likely to see Netflix's share of Internet content growing even more. The streaming service has been testing 4K video content, which has a much higher resolution even than HD content, meaning higher bandwidth concerns.
Apple's iTunes also ranked among the largest downstream bandwidth consumers, taking up 3.27 percent of traffic. BitTorrent traffic placed just ahead of iTunes, though, with 4.05 percent of traffic.
On the upstream end, BitTorrent reigns supreme, accounting for 36.35 percent of uploaded content. A far distant second is HTTP content, which makes up less than one sixth the traffic total for BitTorrent.