Netflix Showing the Way Forward
Here in Europe we tend not to hear too much about Netflix, originally a DVD rentalservice in the United States but since 2007, an on-demand movie and TV programme streaming service.
The price for the service is nothing if not competitive – a $7.99 per month subscription gets you unlimited streamed movies and DVD’s by post for playback on a wide range of devices (not Linux though). This is the type of competition Amazon Prime/Love Film will face if Netflix pushes into Europe.
This article though is about the network traffic generated by Netflix and how we can use that to determine it’s increasing popularity. In Sandvine’s recent Global Internet Phenomena Report: Spring 2011, Netflix has overtaken BitTorrent as the number one source of peak time, downstream traffic. It also ranks higher than web browsing in general. BitTorrent still makes up the vast majority of upstream traffic but as a P2P infrastructure, that’s to be expected.
Here, BitTorrent traffic still rules the roost, marginally ahead of general web browsing. In Europe the only streaming service that come close to Netflix is the BBC iPlayer with 6.6% of peak time downstream traffic.
the success of Netflix should also serve as a wake up call to those who question the all you can eat model of content provision. If Netflix can profitably provide copyrighted, unlimited content for $7.99 per month then it may point the way forward for other providers. Perhaps the model could also be applied to the music industry?
What these numbers ultimately demonstrate is that people will be prepared to pay what they think is a reasonable amount for content and they may be tempted away from the freely available BitTorrent provided content. The entertainment industry surely not blame everyone else for their woes for much longer when they’ve been shown the way forward.