Streaming Video Binges Now Take Up More Than 70% Of The (Prime-Time) Internet

Do you remember 2007? Way back then in the long-long ago times, movies came on physical discs and you binge-watched a TV series by happening to turn on the TV while a Law and Order marathon was running. Now, however, it seems like basically everything streams to us over the internet… and basically the whole internet, or at least a huge fraction of it, is for streaming.

That’s according to the latest report from Sandvine, a network analytics company that tells us, a few times a year, what exactly we are collectively using the internet for. Back in May, the company calculated that streaming video accounted for more than half of all the prime-time internet traffic in North America. Six months later, it seems our insatiable appetite for just one more episode only keeps growing.

70.40% of all downstream internet traffic (data coming from the internet to you, instead of going from you up to the internet) now falls into the category of “real-time entertainment,” according to Sandvine (PDF). That encompasses both video, like Netflix and YouTube, and also audio, like Spotify and Pandora. That’s approximately ten times the volume of the second-place catetgory, web browsing, which manages to take up barely over 7% of our collective bandwidth.

As for the video providers, big red remains the elephant in the room. Netflix alone accounts for more than a third of our internet use, clocking in at about 37% of downstream traffic. Second-place YouTube accounts for a smudge less than 18%, and third-place video provider Amazon clocks in at just over 2%. Running down the list of media providers from there, iTunes is 2.8% of our traffic, and Hulu about 2.6%. “Other” video takes up the rest.

Also worth noting: Facebook alone also accounts for about 2.5% of all our downstream internet traffic at home, much of which is image-based and, increasingly, video as well.

But that’s just home use. And who only uses the internet at home, anymore? Not most North American consumers, that’s for sure. So how’s the picture on mobile?

As you might expect, streaming is slightly less of our on-the-go use, and social networking slightly more. When it comes to mobile broadband, real-time streaming entertainment is only (“only”) 41% of all our downstream data. Social networking takes up more than 22% of our phone broadband, use, though, and audio and short-form video are much more popular than Netflix binges.

On mobile, YouTube tops the charts at nearly 21% of our downstream traffic. Facebook takes second place, at about 16%. We also do more web browsing and “other” video viewing on our phones, but Snapchat (4.3%) and Pandora (4.3%) also make the top ten.

Netflix does eke onto the list, but way down in the number nine position, at just 3.4% of our mobile data.

Sandvine: Over 70% Of North American Traffic Is Now Streaming Video And Audio [Sandvine]