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Internet Streaming Services Gobble Half of the Traffic on PlusNet UK

Friday, Jul 27th, 2012 (3:09 am) - Score 2,403

Broadband ISP PlusNet UK has revealed that internet streaming services (e.g. YouTube) now account for over 42% of all usage on its network during the evening and often peak at 50-60% depending on what’s happening (i.e. big sporting events). A raft of other stats have also been published including some that hint at a possible abuse of the SkyGo service.

The total usage of PlusNet’s network has grown by 40% in the past year (note: doubled in just over 2 years) and audio / video streaming services make up over half of that. As you might expect most of this comes from the digital delights of YouTube (15% of total traffic during peak periods) and the BBC’s catch-up TV iPlayer service (10% of traffic). Reams of free content can be very attractive.

plusnet uk internet streaming per day

The ISP notes that traffic from newer services, such as Netflix’s unlimited movie streaming platform, is beginning to show but they’re still a long way off the big boys mentioned above. Similarly Spotify, an online music streaming service, only accounts for over 1% of the ISPs network bandwidth but is still described by PlusNet as being “clearly popular“.

Dave Tomlinson, Plusnet’s Product Team, said:

As we’ve said before, iPlayer and YouTube dominate the amount of streaming traffic on our network. Their free content is consumed by lots of people. Where people are paying for content, they use it a lot, but the penetration is a lot lower than the free services and we’d speculate that services like SkyGo are used more by the friends of Sky customers wanting to see the exclusive content rather than people watching it on a different device to their TV. After all, if you are paying for a Sky Sports subscription, why wouldn’t be you be in your front room, watching it on your main TV.

People are liking what they see and are consuming more. We’ve seen step changes in the past after big events like the World Cup two years ago where people have watched the football online and then started watching more regular shows on iPlayer or other services. There’s a generation starting to emerge that don’t watch TV on the television when it’s broadcast, they watch on demand when they want to on the device that’s most convenient to watch it on. When they buy their own homes and get a TV, the first requirement is going to be that it connects to the Internet and second that it’s big.”

For those who missed it. SkyGo is what emerged after BSkyB (Sky Broadband) merged their online broadband TV catch-up service (Sky Player) and their mobile TV platform (Sky Mobile TV) into a single service last year.

PlusNet claims to have seen SkyGo peak when exclusive content, such as big football games, are showing but barely registers the rest of the time. The ISP suggests that this might indicate a tendency by Sky subscribers to share their online account details with others who aren’t Sky customers. Sky probably don’t approve of that.

So what about the other major TV channels and their iPlayer-alike services? Apparently 4oD (Channel 4), Demand 5 (Channel 5) and ITV Player combined do roughly half the traffic of iPlayer. Likewise ITV Player is similar to SkyGo in that it also has peaks for exclusive content, such as their Champions League games.

By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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