Netflix web traffic now 34%; cord cutters gobble 54% of downstream traffic

Here’s a hint: It’s too soon to talk about the “demise of Netflix,” or, more accurately, the rise of competing services. (And, if you’re discounting cord cutter impact, don’t.)

The latest data from Sandvine reveals that Netflix is eating up even more of the Internet’s capacity, and that cord cutters are, well, huge data hogs.

In the first half of 2014, Netflix increased its share of North American downstream traffic during peak periods to 34.2%, up from 32.3% for 1H2013. Some of that is due to Netflix continuing to increase the quality of its streams, rolling out more Super HD content, some due to the increasing number of subscribers – a base that’s up 15% in the past year — in the United States.

While YouTube retained the second largest share, 13.2%, it was down from 17.1% a year ago.

Both Hulu and Amazon Video rebounded from a second half slump last year, but both also remained below their Y/Y numbers.

Hulu slipped from No. 6 in 1H2013 to No. 10 in 1H2014, and saw its share decrease from 2.4% to 1.7%. Amazon Video moved into the No. 9 spot with a 1.9% share after not making the Top 10 a year ago.

Netflix, Google and Apple combined accounted for more than 51% of all downstream traffic in North America.

On the international stage, Netflix also is taking a big bite in the United Kingdom and Ireland, where it’s become the second largest source of Internet traffic during peak evening hours. It now accounts for nearly 18% of downstream fixed access traffic there.

Cord cutters consume 54% of downstream traffic

Sandvine also looked at a category of heavy real-time entertainment (RTE) streamers it defined as “cord-cutters” in the U.S. market.

While typical subscribers stream just 13 GB of RTE content each month, about 9 hours, “cord cutters” stream about 11X as much, some 153 GB of RTE, or roughly 100 hours of entertainment a month, assuming approximately 1.5GB of data for each hour viewed.

Sandvine points out that the 100 hours of streaming could be shared among several consumers in the same household.

The company points out that the “top 15th-percentile of video users actually consumes the majority of monthly network traffic,” some 54%.

Mobile RTE consumption continues to grow

As with fixed networks, RTE is the most dominant traffic category on North American mobile networks, too. Sandvine said RTE accounts for more than 40% of the downstream bytes on the network during peak periods. While that number is down slightly Y/Y from 47%, the median downstream has increased significantly to 84 MB from 47 MB a year ago, an increase of 79%. YouTube traffic had a 17.6% market share, Netflix 5.1%, compared to 27.2% and 4% respectively a year ago.

Latin American mobile networks, meanwhile, are expected to see heavy impact during next month’s World Cup when streaming matches are expected to make up more than 40% of traffic.

While RTE makes up a huge portion of prime period Internet traffic globally, only the Asia Pacific region gives North America a run for its money when it comes to streaming real time entertainment.

In fixed Networks, RTE makes up 54% of prime period traffic compared to 64% in North America. On mobile networks, APAC consumption of RTE actually exceeds that of North America 47% to 40%.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn