Netflix Is the Biggest Data Hog in the World

In terms of snaffling internet data, Netflix has everyone else beaten hands down. Netflix is also contributing to video being the biggest drain on bandwidth overall, which, given how many cat videos we all watch, should come as a surprise to absolutely no one.

We know all of this thanks to The Global Internet Phenomena Report from Sandvine [PDF]. Which has drawn data from 150 fixed and mobile operators worldwide. Sandvine claims that this represents “a statistically significant segment of the internet population.”

Stop Watching Videos of Cats

Video as a whole accounts for 58 percent of downstream traffic on the internet. A rise of 22 percent. Video beats web browsing into second place (on 17 percent), with gaming in third (on 8 percent), and social in fourth (on 5 percent).

Netflix by itself accounts for 15 percent of downstream traffic. HTTP media streams, which are embedded videos and other nonspecific video applications, take second place with 13 percent. And YouTube settles into third place with 11 percent.

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What’s scary about these numbers is how they could continue to soar. While Netflix already has a healthy userbase the streaming service could add hundreds of millions of new subscribers as it continues to spend money producing original content.

Then there’s YouTube, which is evolving into a TV-like platform for well-produced shows and famous vloggers. And 4K video, which more people are likely to adopt as it becomes the new standard definition. Let’s just hope video compression improves over time.

The Unstoppable Rise of Gaming

While video is likely to remain the number one drain on data, gaming is slowly but surely catching up. This is thanks to a combination of game downloads, Twitch streaming, and professional gaming. And ISPs are going to have to deal with this phenomenon.

If you already pay for Netflix and are looking to get more out of the streaming service be sure to read our ultimate guide to Netflix. And if you’ve never used it but are wondering what the fuss is about here are some reasons to subscribe to Netflix.

Image Credit: Bob Klannukarn/Flickr

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