The Wifirst network, a real observatory of usages

Léna Ansari
Mar 7, 2019 3:23:16 PM

Netflix, Google, Akamai and Facebook, the four leading content providers, use more than half of the global bandwidth. The trend is towards an increasing concentration of traffic between a small number of players.

Before going any further, let's explain in a few lines to the uninitiated in the "geek" language what bandwith is. The term refers to the volume of data that can be transported from one point to another within a given period of time, usually one second. In other words, the content providers mentioned above monopolize global Internet traffic because of the amount of data-intensive content (HD streaming) and the number of Internet users who view it. Video streaming platforms consume the most bandwidth, accounting for 58% of global traffic.

Netflix occupies a dominant and growing position in this distribution with 15% of world traffic, according to a report by Sandvine. The platform is slightly ahead of Youtube (Google), which consumes 11,35% of global traffic and leaves its other direct competitors far behind. Amazon Prime Video, a video-on-demand service that runs on the same platforms as Netflix, accounts for only 3,69% of the world's bandwidth. A monopoly that has made Netflix the leading video service in the United States and the second largest in Europe, where Youtube still holds first place in the ranking. But until when... the latest statistics from our cors network show that Netflix represents up to 24% of all traffic on Wifirst network followed very closely by Youtube with 22% of traffic.

Evolution compared to the beginning of 2018

Netflix's growth in one year has been phenomenal. Spring 2018 was beneficial for the American giant: in 3 months, the brand attracted 3 million additional unique visitors on the Internet (computer-mobile-tablet), reaching 9 million in May 2018, this evolution is reflected in the growth of traffic on the Wifirst network. According to the latest SVoD barometer published by Mediametrie, 30% of Internet users have used a paid subscription video service in the last 12 months. This is 10 points more than in December 2017/ The peaks in audience over the year correspond to the launch of new series seasons produced by Netflix.

Annual evolution of Netflix consumption on the Wifirst network
from February 2018 to February 2019
Screenshot 2019-02-08 at 11.25.27

Distribution of data consumption on the Wifirst network

                      February 2018                                                                   February 2019

illustration_camembert 010219 ENGLISH                   illustration_camembert 010218 ENGLISH

Who are Netflix users and how do they consume ?  

Students are at the forefront of Netflix's consumption since 15-24 year olds are the platform's biggest consumers. Almost a third of them surf the Netflix site or application every month. The Mediametrie institute provides us with information on the profile of visitors to Netflix sites and apps. "They tend to over-consume audio and video content: more than average, they buy films and series on VoD, love Internet catch-up TV and video games; they regularly frequent cinemas regularly, are very active on social networks, have a subscription to listen to their music and regularly order dishes delivered to their homes!"

Netflix in peak hours, what our usage observatory tells us 

During the week, the analysis by time slot shows a peak audience on Netflix at 10pm on the Wifirst network.

Evolution of Netflix consumption on the Wifirst network over a day

Netflow conso journaliere Netflix

A democratization of Netflix in the hotel industry, a shift that can be anticipated!

While millennials are the first consumers of HD streaming, their elders are following the same trend. Business travellers and tourists are just as fond of Netflix even if their consumption seems more "reasoned".

Sizing the Wifirst core network to absorb future usages

In November 2018, we at Wifirst have had a new data consumption record for the entire network : 20.41 PB (petabytes) or more than 21 million GB. This monthly Wifirst traffic would correspond to the viewing of more than 10 million episodes of series in HD. However, it is likely that this figure will continue to increase, traffic evolution is so rapid that it is essential to size our core network to be able to handle traffic under optimal conditions for all our users today and in the months to come. As proof, the volume of data exchanged on the Wifirst network has increased by a factor of 4.5 in 5 years.

Traffic evolution on the Wifirst network between 2014 and 2018


Wifirst and Netflix in direct interconnections

At a time when American ISP (Verizon and Sprint among others) are rebelling against Netflix by limiting the content provider's bandwith -  due to the fact that they think platform videos occupy too much space in their network bandwidth, we at Wifirst are taking a different approach. The direct interconnections between Wifirst and the web giants, including Netflix, guarantee optimal operation for the user connected to the Wifirst network. Indeed, our use of private peering allows us to be directly interconnected to the Netflix network and no longer depend on third parties for the flow of traffic. For example, if O2 disagrees with Netflix, the Wifirst Network will not be affected at all! This is one of the major advantage of having our own core network.

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