Netflix, Apple Music & need for bandwidth

For a long time, I have argued that bandwidth (usage) can be a good predictor of economic trends and shifts. I was reminded of that earlier this morning, when reading a press release about Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena Report: Asia-Pacific & Europe, when this bit caught my eye.

  • Netflix is making gains in the new European markets they entered late last year, with the service now accounting for almost 10% of peak downstream traffic in Austria and France.
  • Apple Music, bolstered by a three month free trial, has surpassed Spotify as the leading music streaming service on mobile networks in Australia and New Zealand.
  • YouTube is the top mobile application in both Europe and Asia-Pacific, making it the global leader in mobile traffic.
  • Online gaming continues to drive traffic on fixed networks with Twitch and Steam now top-10 applications for the first time in Europe and Asia-Pacific respectively.

Sandvine is a Waterloo, Ontario-based network management & monitoring service that works with 250-plus communications service provider (CSP) so it has a fairly solid bird’s eye view of what is happening on the Internet.

The gaming traffic doesn’t surprise me — Asia is all gaming crazy, eSports are growing like a weed there. YouTube is a demographic favorite and as mobile becomes more popular, they are going to be up there as both music and video service.

That said, the impact Netflix and Apple on the networks is going to be huge — Netflix wants to be in 200 countries by 2016 and Apple Music is going to be tried (if not purchased) be tens of millions of people. They are going to become major drivers of the growth in bandwidth across the world. Netflix is already massive in North America already. (Didn’t someone already say that the New Internet is going to be like TV.) According to Sandvine:

  • On North American fixed networks, Netflix continues to slowly increase its domination of, accounting for 36.5% of downstream traffic in the peak evening hours.

These data-points from Sandvine, and some fresh new talk about the slow irrelevance of the classic-web due to the rise of new connected devices, have triggered some new thought streams and I will be working on jotting down and organizing my thoughts. I think from my perspective, all the debate about irrelevance of web is irrelevant. We have become so accustomed to using the “browser” as an interface for the Internet, that sometimes we miss  that the forest, aka the “network” and its impact.



A letter from Om

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