Netflix and Other Streaming Services Hog 70 Percent of the Internet

Netflix now gobbles up a bigger chunk of traffic than all streaming audio and video did five years ago

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Streaming media sites now devour more than 70 percent of internet traffic in North America, with No. 1 Netflix accounting for 37.1 percent of all data sent to people logging into non-mobile connections.

YouTube and Amazon Video rounded out the top three sources of traffic. All three increased their share in the twice-a-year “Global Internet Phenomena Report” from network equipment maker Sandvine, with Amazon and Hulu making particular increases that moved them up the ranks.

The data provides a glimpse at how much people are watching entertainment on sites like Netflix, which in the last two years has aggressively produced original shows it characterizes as hits but has kept mum on viewership stats. The traffic increase underscores the growing popularity of these services, but the findings also reflect how their streaming content is growing more data-heavy. Formats like 4K high-definition video, which is slowly becoming more common, eat up much more traffic than the exact same show in a lower quality.

“The leading service in 2015, Netflix, now has a greater share of traffic than all of streaming audio and video did five years ago,” Sandvine CEO Dave Caputo said in a release.

On mobile devices, YouTube is the biggest source of traffic in North America, with nearly 21 percent share, followed by 16 percent share held by Facebook, which has been aggressively pushing video to its users.

Elsewhere in the world, Instagram is responsible for more than 10 percent of total traffic. Combining that with traffic from Facebook itself and the company’s messaging app WhatsApp, the social network controls almost a quarter of mobile traffic in the region.