It’s been a little while since we posted an update about the latest happenings on the network and particular what’s happening with streaming usage. We’ll start as usual with a few of headlines then move on with a bit more detail:
The growth in streaming traffic started to slow down a couple of months ago. After the initial massive burst at the beginning of the year we then saw a small decrease in streaming traffic per day in May. This may well have been down to the bank holidays and people being away as we saw decreases in all types of traffic that month. Total usage for example saw a 3% decrease per day in May compared to April.
Moving on to June and we had an increase per day in every type of traffic against May with total traffic being 5.57% higher in June per day than May and streaming 9.83% higher. The biggest gainer in June was gaming with traffic up 14.44% against May followed by email with 10.38%. Both tie in with our thinking that traffic was down in May because of the holidays (businesses away so less email being sent and received and people on holiday so not playing games).
The highest hour for streaming has been broken four times in the last month. The previous high of 252.1GB was set between 9pm and 10pm on 22nd May.
This was first beaten on Sunday 22nd June between 9pm and 10pm with 259.9GB, then the following Sunday 29th June saw 264.3GB between 9pm and 10pm only to be beaten by 283.4GB on Monday 30th June between 8pm and 9pm and then an hour later beaten again with 287.3GB between 9pm and 10pm.
We suspect a large amount of the Sunday traffic likely down to people watching the previous day’s episode or Doctor Who, however there will also be other traffic in there such as Top Gear, Euro 2008 final and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon games amongst others.
The final episode of the new series of Doctor Who is caused another high day for streaming last Sunday, although not quite record breaking. The cliffhanger ending the week before probably meant more people decided to watch it on TV rather than catch up via iPlayer. With Doctor Who finished now until Christmas we didn’t see the familar dip in interactive traffic this Saturday evening. We’ve also seen the launch recently of more or improved streaming services with Channel 4, ITV and Sky now offering catch up type services and Zattoo allowing people to watch streaming versions of most channels available on Freeview.
It wouldn’t be at all surprising to continue to see records broken, more and more people are going to use iPlayer, 4OD, Sky Player and the others and more and more content is going to become available and at a higher bit-rate.
The most important changes from our perspective include the increased player size (which will no doubt mean more bandwidth being used) and the addition of radio in the same player interface. There are a number of other changes that we’re sure many people will find useful like shows picking up where you left off if you stop watching part way through and the way the schedules are displayed.
It is also interesting to see the decrease in P2P traffic over the year. It may be that services like iPlayer and 4OD are turning customers away from P2P downloads, or it could be stories like the filesharing letters or the proposed three strikes policy that is changing peoples’ thinking.
This graph shows the volume of P2P traffic downloaded per day since November (there are a few drops where our data is incomplete):
Our customers uploaded and downloaded a grand total of 1.41PB last month, that’s the second highest figure ever (the highest was 1.46PB). We wouldn’t be surprised to beat the highest next month as July has 31 days. At 47.04GB per day it’s not far below the highest per day of 47.09GB per day either. Both those highs were set in March this year.
The recent upgrade to our traffic management systems has also brought us a new signature for detecting YouTube traffic. About a year ago Ellacoya published a study (PDF) showing that around 10% of traffic was YouTube.
On average YouTube traffic accounts for about 6.5% of the network (across the whole day and night, just download) but at the highest point is now accounting for about 16% of all downloaded traffic on our network.
All in all it makes for a lot of traffic on the network. It would be interesting to know if because of the faster connections on offer now than a couple of years ago thanks to Max people are wanting the content more immediately in the form of streaming and the faster speeds are allowing that (whereas perhaps before they were prepared to wait for a P2P download) or that the emergence of more streaming content means that more people are looking at the Internet to deliver video in real time.
Our usage data seems to suggest a mix of both, P2P usage in general is on the decline, streaming is up and the number of people using it, and particularly using it in large enough volume, continues to grow.
PlusNet Product Team
Here at Plusnet we're always trying to use clever open source things to make our lives easier. Sometimes we write our own and make other people's lives easier too!
We're a Yorkshire-based provider selling broadband and phone services to homes and businesses throughout the UK. Winner of the ISPA 2010 'Best Consumer Customer Service ISP' Award, we're proud to offer the UK's best value standalone broadband.
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