Have you noticed lately how many hours you've been spending ogling at the endless catalog of movie choices on Netflix Instant View? Did you smile a little yesterday at the news that Miramax movies will soon be available to subscribers--and maybe you even started planning your streaming Pulp Fiction party complete with Photoshopped boxes of Frute Brute cereal to munch? You're not the only one. According to a new report by Sandvine, Netflix now accounts for one third of all internet bandwidth in North America during primetime hours.
Three quick conclusions can be drawn by the breakdown of internet usage below, says Sandvine. One, Netflix is king. Two, as real-time entertainment--streaming video as well as interactive chat, voice and video communications--made up for nearly half of the data consumed by internet users in the United States, Canada and Mexico, we can expect a shakeup in the telecom world. Finally, person-to-person file sharing isn't going anywhere and the industry will have to deal with it.
Placing the report in context with recent events in internet current events raises a few questions.
How will this affect YouTube? According to ZDNet's Christopher Dawson, last week's announcement that YouTube would offer movie rentals not only clearly pits parent company Google against Netflix; it also makes apparent how YouTube might offer the social features that Netflix always lacked. "YouTube’s built-in commenting, subscriptions, and video response mechanisms make the site a robust and extremely modern social network," says Dawson. YouTube seems to be further differentiating itself from Netflix by opening up the potential of producing original content, a move Netflix says they're not interested in making.