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How One Direction have become an internet sensation

September 1st, 2014 at 09:54 by Martyn Hudson

One Direction

For five boys back in 2010, the dream was to become pop stars. Four years on, One Direction are one of the most idolised bands in the world. With a new X Factor series starting over the weekend, Plusnet explores the group’s extraordinary online success from where it all started…

One Direction in numbers

Click the image for full size.

Twitter loves to hashtag Harry

Whilst sowing the seeds of stardom in series seven of the X Factor, One Direction had 29,908 Twitter followers, their first tweet achieving over 5,000 retweets. Today, the band account alone has 20 million followers, a 67,106% increase. Lead singer Harry Styles has even more followers of his personal account, at 21 million.

Harry’s popularity is further proven by the fact that children are 5% more likely to recognise his face than the British Prime Minister. A research study conducted by Plusnet with One Poll found that whilst 66% of children (aged 8-17) did recognise David Cameron, 71% recognised Harry Styles.

Facebook fan base

If One Direction’s 32 million strong Facebook fan base formed a country, it would be approximately the 40th biggest in the world. ‘One Direction-land’ would be larger in population than around 207 countries, including the following five places:

  • Peru
  • Australia
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium
  • Greece

Not only do these fans use social media to read updates, 42% say that they would use it to grab the band’s attention through retweets, replies and comments. Our poll also revealed that only 12% would send a letter, showing a clear shift from traditional fan mail. A comparatively popular method chosen by 11%, was physically throwing something on stage – Harry once had a shoe thrown at him!

A never-ending playlist

One Direction’s debut single ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ has had over 544 million views, whilst their VEVO channel has now had over 3 billion views since December 2010 and has acquired over 13 million subscribers. To translate those views, that’s 68 million per month or 26 plays per second!

In fact, if you took YouTube’s top ten One Direction tracks and calculated the number of views, the length of time spent listening to all of those songs would equate to roughly 18,498 years.

YouTube Views

Even past boy band rivals, Take That and Westlife, have less than 20 million views for their most watched songs. Only Psy can sweep the floor with One Direction, as Gangnam Style acquired over 2 billion views, the equivalent to 16,000 (long) years of listening.

The girlfriend effect

Being the girlfriend of a One Direction member can equally boost a social profile overnight, as former girlfriends have found out.

Harry’s last known girlfriend, Kendall Jenner, saw her Twitter follower count increase by 1 million when she dated him, as the public wanted the inside story on their romance. Caroline Flack’s increase is perhaps the most impressive. With just 24,000 followers prior to dating Harry, her followers bumped up to 1.48m in August 2013, an increase of 5,085%.

Not only are profiles put on the social map, even globally famous women see a spike in their follower counts. Taylor Swift saw her follower count jump 15% from 20 million to 23 million when she dated Harry and Ellie Goulding’s followers jumped from 1.5m to 1.8m when she dated Niall.

Who will be next to experience the ‘girlfriend effect’? As part of our research, we asked fans who Harry should be dating. Wrecking Ball star Miley Cyrus came out on top with 1 in 5 fans believing that she would be the perfect girlfriend, beating off Katy Perry, Selena Gomez and the now-married Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.

Only going in One Direction

One Direction are not just winning awards for music, but for their sensational online presence too. The bandmates are amongst the best-known faces and personalities on the planet and they’re showing no sign of stopping!

Are you a fan of One Direction? Have you ever tried to get them to share something on social media?


Survey conducted by One Poll and statistics based on responses from 1500 children aged 8-17

One Direction logo from WikiMedia commons.

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Plusnet staff go the extra mile for charity

August 28th, 2014 at 15:00 by Chris Parr

Leeds to Sheffield 36 mile walk

Over the bank holiday weekend, 23 staff took part in a walk between our Marlborough Street office in Leeds and our Sheffield office on Pinfold Street. The walk was the latest fundraising event for our charity of the year, The Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

The challenge pushed the group to their limits as they passed through Tingley, Midgley, Silkstone Common, Deepcar, Warncliffe Side and Oughtibridge heading back to Sheffield. The draining walk comes just a few weeks after a 500 mile cycle ride between Plusnet and Paris.

Plusnet HR Manager, Andrea Kilgour commented “Plusnet staff are always keen to engage in charity activities and have this year gone to extraordinary lengths to raise funds for The Jane Tomlinson Appeal, our Charity of the Year and we are all very proud of their contributions.”

The walking team

This latest fundraising event has added an extra £1000 on top of our continued charity fundraising for The Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

Siobhan Curtis, Legacy Manager at The Jane Tomlinson Appeal said: “It was great to see so many Plusnet colleagues taking on the challenge this weekend. Whether they walked 36 or 18miles it is a great accomplishment and something they should all be really proud of. The support the team across the business have shown the Appeal is fantastic and it’s great that so many have taken on a personal challenge this year in support of the Appeal.”

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You love Netflix

August 21st, 2014 at 12:00 by Dave Tomlinson


Netflix launched in the UK just over two years ago with quite a fanfare.

In that time we’ve seen Netflix traffic grow at an incredible rate. Netflix now battles it out with YouTube for most usage on our network. This isn’t surprising when you see that one in ten households have signed up to Netflix.

That’s more than 3 million UK households now subscribed to Netflix and puts it far ahead of their rival, Amazon. That means roughly 1.5 million households have signed up in the last year according to recent analysis. Although the price of Netflix has recently increased, from £5.99 to £6.99, we’ve continued to see an increase in the use of Netflix across our network.

Netflix vs YouTube


Netflix and YouTube both use large amounts of bandwidth across our network, although their usage patterns differ. The shape of the graph means we can make some assumptions on who is watching and when.

The graph below shows that Netflix peaks higher than YouTube and is watched later in the evening, whereas YouTube contributes more overall traffic without the significant peak. You can see that YouTube starts ramping up its usage during breakfast time, most likely when people are getting ready to go to work and school. Whereas Netflix spikes much higher in the evening, most likely once the children have gone to bed.

Netflix vs YouTube


What are we doing for future growth?

The end of summer into the start of autumn are a busy time for an ISP. The new Premier League football season is starting, new episodes of popular TV shows starting such as Doctor Who and big software updates like the upcoming iOS8 from Apple. Combine this together with the nights starting to draw in it means that people are doing more online. With this in mind we’re continually increasing the bandwidth on our network and have added a significant amount recently.

Don’t forget that Christmas isn’t far away either, and whilst most pople won’t be buying 4k Ultra-HD TVs this year, there is always a jump in sales of consoles, tablets and similar devices. This gives more ways for everyone to enjoy the content, and there are plenty more Netflix originals like the new House of Cards season to ensure that streaming continues to rise.

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Plusnet take part in Sheffield CycleBoost

August 19th, 2014 at 12:30 by Chris Parr

Sheffield Cycle Boost

Plusnet are one of the companies joining in with this year’s Sheffield Cycle Boost scheme.

The scheme is coordinated by local cycling companies on behalf of Sheffield Council thanks to grants from the Department for Transport under the local inMotion project.

Read on to find out more about how Plusnet got involved…

Sheffield Cycle Boost offers local companies the free load of high quality bikes for staff to try cycling to work for three to four weeks. The staff taking part can also take advantage of Dr Bike sessions which provide a check-up for your bike alongside personalised cycling courses, these cover everything from commuter safety through to maintenance skills. Cycling experts will even accompany cyclists on their first ride home.

Staff were able to test out their new bikes after collecting them recently.

Collecting the bikes

Plusnet were the first company in Sheffield to take part in the scheme back in 2012 and this year are going the extra mile by providing the staff taking part with free breakfasts, to refuel after their ride in to the office.

Plusnet CEO, Andy Baker commented:

“Plusnet welcome the opportunity to be part of the CycleBoost 2014. Cutting congestion and improving fitness is beneficial to all, and being able to offer heavily discounted rates for Plusnet staff on bikes and cycle equipment will be really well received.”

The Cycleboost scheme is part-funded by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, branded locally as Inmotion! Inmotion! was established following a successful bid for £24.6 million from the Department for Transport’s ‘Local Sustainable Transport Fund’ to help boost South Yorkshire’s local economy.

Do you cycle to work, or would you like to? What tips have you got for those starting out on two wheels?

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