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back to article Netflix, YouTube video killed the BitTorrent star? Duo gobble web traffic

Streaming video now makes up more than half of internet traffic in North America as more and more internet users shun filesharing sites. Netflix and YouTube now account for the lion's share of all online traffic, according to the Global Internet Phenomena Report by Sandvine (PDF - you need to register). Netflix is top, with 31. …

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Silver badge

Misleading headline, surely it should've read:

"BITTORRENT LOSES ITS BANDWIDTH CROWN TO NETFLIX AND YOUTUBE"

Oh and if torrent traffic goes down to 1% of all internet bandwidth I bet the copyright clowns will still complain bitterly they're losing billions to piracy and have to enforce even more draconian measures on people's internet connections...

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Silver badge

Since my previous posting the headine has changed from:

"Bittorrent gets the boot as Netflix and YouTube win the web"

to

"Netflix, YouTube video killed the BitTorrent star? Duo gobble web traffic"

which while technically correct considering Netflix & YouTube use port 80 it omits the small detail that BitTorrent can use any port but its default is 6881-6889.

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Anonymous Coward

copyright clowns

The big question is as torrents decline in use who will they blame next??

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Pirate

Re: copyright clowns

"as torrents decline in use who will they blame next?"

There must, quite obviously, be some mysterious, secret network protocol that only the pirates know about and use, and nobody else can detect, because the overall loss of the media companies to piracy will soon be so great that we don't yet have a computer system capable of calculating it.

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Re: copyright clowns

There's a nice mathematical breakdown here:

http://www.ted.com/talks/rob_reid_the_8_billion_ipod.html

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Re: copyright clowns

"There must, quite obviously, be some mysterious, secret network protocol that only the pirates know about and use, and nobody else can detect"

There is, and it's been around for decades, Sneakernet aka portable storage devices. In the early days it was cassete tapes & floppy discs, now it's harddrives & flash drives.

Sneakernet latency has always been a problem, but the bandwidth is now ludicrus :)

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Bronze badge

Seems reasonable

Netflix (plus a US proxy) has replaced about 70% of my bittorrenting.

Although my (probably very common) use case may be skewing these statistics a bit. They're only reporting on bandwidth usage in North America, but a fair chunk of that traffic is probably global Netflix usage through American proxies.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seems reasonable

You don't even have to shove the video data down the proxy now days, you can use a DNS service like unblock-us or justunblock to only proxy the hosts that do geo checks. Works great for HD streaming.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seems reasonable

Oooh, hadn't realised that. Ta muchly.

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Re: Seems reasonable

BBC iplayer is the same - get the html/xml/ etc. data from a uk ip, but the raw rtmp data url can be grabbed from anywhere...

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vested interest

Yeah the RIAA and ilk probably blame piracy for Netflix actually bringing content to the people under reasonable terms. At least now some of the companies that are members of these umbrella organizations have realized they are nothing but sue happy extortion units that do little to stop piracy but do piss off their good customers. The companies that have backed away from DRM are the smart ones in the long term. When DRM becomes even a little intrusive to the good legal customers (which it very often does if not done very carefully) the resentment will affect future sales. Goodwill matters in business.

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Linux

Re: vested interest

Hmm... Maybe the Bittorrent upstream traffic has nothing to do with piracy. I find it VERY handy when downloading and redistributing OpenSuse and Ubuntu, which, incidentally do not have DRM.

Hmmmm... <Steeples fingers> Interesting!

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Holmes

Unfair Comparison

It's like comparing apples and oranges, though. Streaming sites, by definition, download data and then throw it away once it's been consumed. BitTorrent is used to download files to disc. If someone was to repeatedly watch Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" video on YouTube, that could end up totalling more download traffic than a single download of a larger file via BitTorrent. There are ways of downloading from YouTube, but the vast majority of people watch & go. There's also a wider audience; YouTube is going to attract more people because it's generally easier to use (having witnessed Madonna fans trying to work out BitTorrent for her recent film).

I'd be more impressed if iTunes was up there, but really I'm not that surprised that people are now following links posted by artists, etc. to YouTube clips rather than having the hassle of finding a live torrent. I believe the vast majority were always doing it mainly due to the means of availability, and not because everyone desires to be a criminal as the industry would have us believe.

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Re: Unfair Comparison

Madonna has a recent film? Perhaps you are trapped in some sort of temporal anomaly and time seems to be passing extremely slowly for you. What you believe to be 1991 is in fact 2013. You're obviously fairly savvy as you have figured out how to publish a comment to what we will call the 'World Wide Web' but if I were you I would be examining the stock market. Don't buy Tyco or Enron or real-estate in Iraq, it all ends in tears.

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Re: Unfair Comparison

2011 - not too un-recent

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Anonymous Coward

File-sharing officially on the wane

while un-officially....

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Anonymous Coward

"Global Internet Phenomena Report by Sandvine (PDF - you need to register)."

I don't need to register, just downloaded a torrent of it.

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Where's the porn?

No registration link to the report, if this site lets me post links. "Flash video" comes in at 1.72% of downstream traffic, below SSL and iTunes at 1.89 and 1.9 respectively. Is that covering all the porn tube sites? I'm surprised it's so low.

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Silver badge

We said it over and over

Make it easy enough for people to get content legally, and they will favor it. They will put up with reasonable ads and/or a modest fee.

BitTorrent is actually kinda a pain: between irreputable search sites, content not being what is described, content being what is described but containing malware, ISPs blocking/slowing it... It's worth the fee.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "ISPs blocking/slowing it..."

And as the RIAA always said, harass your real customers often enough and they'll have no choice but to like it. I wonder who is more right?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "ISPs blocking/slowing it..."

My torrenting fell of a cliff when Crunchyroll went legit, from 10 or so series a week to 2 or 3 glorious times I tell you! Glorious and all for the low low price of I can't even remember it's so low. Beats snot out of having to pay £20 for 3 episodes 4 years after the shows aired! I also like that the money you pay gets given out to the shows you watch so even if I do get a day where connectivity is patchy or oddly late I'll download it and watch it then leave the show running on crunchy some other time on mute.

Oh and the other thing;

RIAA/MPAA or whatever they are will claim that they were right all along. It's a bit like most of these things really.

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Ogi

What about hiding bittorrent traffic...

I mean, due to said sue-happiness of the RIAA and ilk, a lot of time and effort was spent making bittorrent look like HTTP, HTTPS, or just plain encrypted packets. Are the statistics really showing a drop off of bittorrent, or just that it is hiding in other traffic?

Also, I would assume that the total bandwidth consumption is increasing. So it could be that bittorrent has not gone down in real terms, perhaps even grown, but that bandwidth usage as a whole is increasing faster, making it a relative shrinkage.

Also, maybe it just shows that bittorrent is more efficient then repeatedly sending the same bits to everyone, every time they want to watch something?

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Silver badge

Re: What about hiding bittorrent traffic...

You'll get some effect from that, but I think the knock on effects of asymmetric and non-pc devices are bound to reshape the traffic. I have Netflix on my Blueray player. Most of the time it is easier for me to call it up and download an Episode of Eureka or Warehouse 13 than it is to go to my wall of DVDs, find the right disc and load the player. So even though I have all the published seasons of both shows, Netflix will generate streaming traffic for that.

Whether this is a good thing for the interwebs is left as an exercise for the reader. For advanced credit after completing that exercise you can do it again for the telcos.

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It's because those things WASTE bandwidth. Streaming movies is literally just throwing bits away. I don't allow anyone to do that on my network. (I don't mean youtube, that's mostly just a trickle and the clips are rather finite)

Those "Roku" set top boxes for the TV (that do Netflix and other streaming services) are especially stupid. People don't realize what a waste that is. It's no wonder that most ISPs meter data transfer now. (It used to be practically unheard of here)

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Silver badge

Wasn't it netflix that was offering to give ISPs a box to cache netflix content?

Once the content is on your network, it doesn't cost you anything to deliver it to the end user. They even are willing to do all the work to set the damn thing up!

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Silver badge

But the...

ISP is owned by a conglomerate that also owns TV stations and cable TV companies. They don't want you watching OTT stuff like Netflix, they want you to watch THEIR stuff. Pay THEM the monthly fee and keep you on cable TV with all the bundles of crap for big bucks. Down with Net Neutrality! Up with cable company profits.

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Silver badge

Not in my country

My ISP is owned by that famouns billionaire Carlos Slim. The one thing he doesn't own is a TV station or TV cable co. So at least he isn't trying to throttle my content! :)

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Netflix Open Connect caching

That is a really neat solution, they cope with both peering and caching (and caching in a well-engineered sensible passive lets not impact non-netflix users way). Interesting to see BT and Virgin both peer. It's almost like Netflix designed their solution with the knowledge that if they can't get decent response to their customers their customers won't stay...

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ISP's are always going to try and peer with any large source of traffic.

ISP's are always going to try and peer with any large source of traffic. - you'll see that the 2 you mention also peer with the bbc and even tvcatchup.com

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Silver badge

" Once the content is on your network, it doesn't cost you anything to deliver it to the end user. They even are willing to do all the work to set the damn thing up!

Not often true!

Opening your network to a huge traffic increase may well cause capacity issues that may require infastructure upgrades.

Also - in the UK at least - most ISP's don't actually own the 'last mile' of the connection - or even often the National network (when applied to phone lines) - indeed this 'local hop' usually costs more than the internet links.

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Alert

I wonder...

How much of it are traffic that says "you cannot view the content because you're not in the United States or UK" in the packet content, hmmm?

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Bronze badge

Not Scalable?

Think about it - if Netflix has only what 25-30 million subscribers and they already account for this much of the internet's traffic? Doesn't seem like a scalable system to me.

I am still old school - while I haven't rented a video from a video rental store in more than 20 years(my mother's boyfriend was personal friends with the original owner of Blockbuster and that guy used to send me a bunch of free rental tickets back in ~1991), there was a "recent" introduction of premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Movie channel, cinemax etc where I have gotten the bulk of my movies over the past 15 years at least (combined with Tivo which makes for easier watching of course - I haven't been without a Tivo on my personal TVs in 13 years now).

One of the side effects of watching everything through tivo though is I rarely am exposed to what is new, often times I find out about cool tv series long after it was canceled, or I flat out don't hear about a good movie, or if I do I forget about it by the time it hits the movie channels (sometimes if it sounds cool enough I set a Tivo title+actor wishlist to grab it if it won't be showing for another several months).

I did do Netflix for a while but after a few months quickly ran out of content, and then for the next year found I didn't watch more than 1-2 hours for an entire year (not per month but combined for the whole year) - (Netflix used to email me "how was the quality on X?" not sure if they still do that - I went back through those emails and realized that almost all of the titles in the previous year it asked about I did not watch more than a few minutes of) - I canceled when they raised their prices, I was renting an average of 1 dvd from them every 1-2 months(there was a bunch of dvds I wanted to see but I was just lazy when it came to returning them). Not really enough to be worth while. I keep hearing about content complaints and it seems their whole licensing model is broken (not their fault I guess since they can only do what the studios are willing to do), so stuff can come and go at any time.

I do watch a bit of youtube from time to time, not too much though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not Scalable?

" often times I find out about cool tv series long after it was canceled"

And this is why I don't watch western sci-fi anymore :( the last half doxen good shows I watched were cancelled before I watched them.

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Anonymous Coward

As someone who doesn't use Netflix, I wonder how much of my internet bill is going towards the cost of supporting Netflix streaming for other people.... 30% maybe?

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Netflix all the way

We have a Netflix account (that thinks we're in the US, not Canada). $10 a month roughly for all that we can watch. Cable would run some $75-100. Not a hard choice to make.

If you like British detective series and foreign films, rather than NFL and hockey at least. If your life is only complete when you can watch TONIGHT'S NEW EPISODE OF (some mediocre American sitcom), then yeah, Netflix won't do it.

What Netflix doesn't have I will pull off of Pirate Bay - maybe once or twice a month.

At the end of the day Netflix has demonstrated that people will choose to buy legal content if it's priced reasonably.

Note: Bittorrent traffic maybe a smaller percentage of the whole, but does that mean that they are generating less traffic? Or just that Netflix etc are doing much, much more than previously.

Note 2: Do not under any circumstances watch the Buffy The Vampire Slayer Movie after the full TV series.

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Silver badge

Re: Buffet the Hampie Slayer

" Do not under any circumstances watch the Buffy The Vampire Slayer Movie after the full TV series."

Why?

It is completely different form the TV stuff and the big scene in the school hall is really funny - as deliberately over the top as the big bar fight in Dusk til Dawn.

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Throttling

I wonder if the drop off in bittorrent traffic is due to aggressive throttling by isp`s? My isp pretty much kills the connection if you even look at a torrent client. I think a lot of people have moved to filelocker sites like putlocker or private dropbox and mega accounts etc for their pirating needs.

Netflix is pretty shit value in the uk if you use it without fiddling the dns to get American content. How on earth can they justify such a massive difference in choice for the same price? The American one even has far more bbc series than the uk service, how crap is that?

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Silver badge

Netflix solution works

Even with the degraded content in Canada, Netflix is edging out cable television in my family home. It is *really* nice to watch stuff without commercials, to be able to pick and choose, start and stop whenever you like, etc.

As others have indicated, Netflix is empirical proof that consumers *will* pay for content if it is delivered reasonably at a cost that makes sense.

I expect to see some gruesome backlash from other media companies, but something like Netflix will probably emerge victorious anyway. It is a dangerous game of chicken to corner Netflix until it goes big buying independent content and producing its own content. Netflix already has a critical mass of consumers. Once it reaches critical mass with content, the big holdouts may find themselves without a market.

This *is* sub-optimal for the network as currently in place, but it presents an interesting opportunity to solve a problem that concerns me. If Netflix were to put its content in edge servers and then use those servers to both send and receive encrypted streams, ordinary outbound data could be encrypted and placed on the server with an encrypted routing and inbound data could piggyback on the Netflix content. This would create an infrastructure that would make it very difficult to monitor the entire network the way they do today. If control of the servers were distributed and done at arms length from Netflix (they are only cache servers after all), it could be very difficult indeed to spy on people's transmissions.

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Silver badge

Shouldn't the headline be

RIAA MPAA profits rise as bittorrent traffic drops by 50%? Y'know since torrent traffic is directly related to how many sales they make.

Actually I'd like to see this as the next update, RIAA / MPAA profits then and now, and has the much lower torrent rate had a big (or any) affect on it.

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Bronze badge

Artificial scarcity

Yet services like Netflix *still* promote the concept of artificial scarcity.

Why do they remove shows from their listings? Why do they have different shows in different countries? Both questions shouldn't exist. If I log in to Netflix, I should be able to load up a show I watched last week!

Piracy will continue until pay for services stop playing games with their content and customers.

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Re: Artificial scarcity

You have to ask the studios for that answer.

If Netflix could, they would make available every show and movie known to man to every subscriber on the planet, but the studios won't let them.

So replace most instances of "Netflix" with "the studios" in your rant, and it's probably correct.

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Bronze badge

Re: Artificial scarcity

To the end user, they don't care whose fault it is. They just want their shows. The problem is the industry.

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Pirate

Re: Artificial scarcity

Piracy will continue until pay for services stop playing games with their content and customers.

As KjetilS says, it's the studios' fault, not Netflix's, but the "tried to watch Game of Thrones" problem persists.

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Silver badge

Re: Artificial scarcity

It's not just the studios. Despite harmonization, different countries still have different IP laws. And the studio may have only paid union actors for distribution in a given region. If the union smells blood in the water it can kill further distribution. This scenario is exactly what kept Heavy Metal off video tape for so long. They'd signed the rights for the film, but not video. And the music groups couldn't come to reasonable terms with the studio to release it. By the time they did, there wasn't a whole lot of retail value left in the franchise.

Yes RIAA/MPAA are afflicted with too much greed. But they don't have a corner on that particular market. And while most people are quite willing to pay a fair price for streaming video there are a small number of greed afflicted freetards willing to prove the RIAA/MPAA aren't simply tilting at windmills.

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Confused by Netflix

I know of Netflix and I know it is not available where I live. I got curious though (>30% of US web traffic seems worth a bit of casual of curiosity) and I went to their website. I could not find any information regarding the content they provide, or anything about how high the "low monthly fee" is, or any link to ToS, or any hint AT ALL why I might want to use their services and pay them money. I naively expected to be able to check if they have content that might interest me, how expensive it is, basic kind of stuff. No such luck...

Is it "your IP address does not seem to be American - go away now" or is a normal person really expected to hear of it from a friend or an online forum, sign up for service, and provide credit card details as a leap of faith?

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Silver badge

Re: Confused by Netflix

When I last visited it had in big writing on the front page . "£7.99 a month!" or something along those lines. As for viewing the content, generally when you sign up with them for the first time they offer you 1 month free. That's your evaluation time to see if it's worth your money or not.

And while you're looking, have a look for a chrome plugin called mediahint. (or was in hunt) basically it spoofs you as being in the good ol' USofA so you can watch the shows that the US has. I tend to use this a fair bit since the US has more shows I want to watch than the UK.

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Re: Confused by Netflix

Here in Mexico, the Netflix site started showing the low monthly fee the day the service was launched for my country. Funnily, the Netflix client had been sent to my PS3 in some previous firmware update so I knew they were going to open up here "someday".

But the way I learned about Netflix actually opening up here? The day they started offering Netflix here, someone turned on the TV and I heard a Netflix ad!

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Silver badge

BT

BT and other ISPs now blocking PirateBay and it incarnations here in the UK.

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Missing the Fundamentals

A smaller percentage share of download usage for file sharing does not necessarily indicate a decline, particularly as there has been a commensurately huge increase in that bandwidth hungry pursuit known as streaming.

All things being relative in the world of frigging percentages to make up news, file sharing could be as rampant as ever in terms of absolute data consumption, with the download juggernaut of streaming simply growing to gargantuan proportions in comparison.

I am quite happy to stand corrected, but that would require inclusion of facts and figures that might take effort to extract, not being provided, or perhaps intended, as part of the relayed agenda. Oh and might ruin the percentage frigging massage of a non-story. Perish the thought.

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