Netflix Streaming Traffic Overtakes Web Browsing

Just last year, the opposite was true
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2011 12:55 PM CDT
Streaming TV shows and movies on Netflix takes up a big chunk of web traffic.   (AP Photo/NetFlix Inc., file)

(Newser) – Streaming Netflix movies and TV shows: more popular than browsing the Web? Not exactly, but it does account for more Internet traffic. A new study shows that Netflix accounts for nearly 30% of traffic into North American homes during peak nighttime hours; Web browsing accounts for less than 17%. Even though only a quarter of broadband-enabled homes subscribe to Netflix, streaming the service’s movies and TV shows online uses up more bandwidth than Web surfing, the AP reports.

The numbers are significant: As recently as late last year, both Web surfing and peer-to-peer file sharing boasted larger traffic than Netflix’s. It’s yet another shift in the type of traffic driving growth; a few years ago, for example, it was YouTube. Now, YouTube accounts for 11% of traffic during peak hours at home. Netflix's customer base is also growing quickly, hitting 23.6 million subscribers in North America in March. Click for a recent deal that will allow Netflix to stream even more popular movies.

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