Video Drives Doubling in Internet Traffic this Year

North American Internet traffic more than doubled this year, with multi media content comprising about two-thirds of Web traffic in primetime hours, thanks in large part to Netflix streaming.

Network equipment provider Sandvine analyzed a cross-section of its customers and found that Internet traffic had risen 120% this year in North America, from 23 gigabytes to 51 gigabytes, with 51 gigabytes equaling 81 hours of video.

These are promising stats for marketers wanting to make money in video ads, but they’re also a reminder that usage-based pricing plans for consumers are likely to go into effect. “Prioritizing real-time applications like live audio and video is critical to maintaining a high quality of experience,” Sandvine said.

In North America, Netflix commands 33% of downstream traffic during peak times across wired networks. But other services are starting to gain speed. Amazon claims about 1.8% of peak downstream traffic, Hulu 1.4% and HBO Go 0.5%. Audio and video streaming together comprise 65% of all downstream traffic from 9 pm to midnight, with half of that coming from Netflix, said Sandvine.

In Europe, YouTube accounts for more than 20% of peak downstream traffic on mobile networks.

In addition to the possibility of pricing plans, online programmers will likely keep a closer watch on video quality as Web traffic grows over the next few years. Video analytics and technology company Conviva has said that video viewers who encounter a single video start-up failure return 54% less frequently to a programmer than those who don’t.

The growth in Internet video traffic is noteworthy too when considered in tandem with recent subscriber numbers from cablers. Earlier this week, Time Warner said it had lost more video customers in the third quarter than expected — a total of 140,000. For the quarter, the pay TV industry as a whole lost 127,000 customers.

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