By the raw data traffic metric of bits and bytes, the Post-PC era that Steve Jobs and others promised may officially be here.
According to the latest Sandvine survey of fixed and mobile data operators worldwide, 55% of real-time network traffic in September from entertainment sources such as YouTube, Netflix and other on-demand video went to devices other than PCs and laptops.
By data volume alone in the North American market, the majority of entertainment material was going to TVs (via game consoles), smart TVs, tablets and mobile phones. Netflix alone was responsible for 32.69% of this downstream traffic, with 17.48% coming from HTTP Web addresses (general mobile app usage) and 11.32% from YouTube.
The Sandvine report measures network loads and bandwidth use across networks, so it is not indicative of time spent or number of sessions, per se. But it does indicate how much of the network load of entertainment content has moved from PCs to a larger range of devices.
While game consoles were the main beneficiary of entertainment content, entertainment has come to dominate mobile bandwidth. In its more detailed survey of just mobile network providers, it found that most traffic demand is occurring in a narrow two-hour band -- 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. --and within that time, 30.8% of all mobile traffic is going to or from real-time entertainment sources.
On mobile devices, YouTube is the dominant provider, with 18.2% of all traffic. On a raw downstream traffic basis, app use (27.46%), YouTube (19.99%) and Facebook 17.62%) account for more than 65% of peak download streams.
The massive move of entertainment content from desktop to devices is supported by recent findings from Google and YouTube itself. At this week’s OMMA Mobile conference in San Francisco, Google Senior Product Marketing Manager Johanna Werther said that 200 million YouTube playbacks occur each day on mobile devices. Among those who do use YouTube on mobile, 75% say that this post-PC device is their primary way of accessing YouTube.