Consumers’ appetites for real-time on-demand content have increased dramatically, according to a new report.
Sandvine commissioned the report, and it’s based on information from more than 20 cable and DSL service providers with a total of 24 million subscribers spanning five regions worldwide, including North America, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America, Asia-Pacific, and the Middle East and Africa. This is the sixth report in an ongoing series of broadband phenomena and Internet traffic analysis that Sandvine has published since 2002.
This year’s report included a dramatic increase in consumer behavior toward real-time, “experience now” applications and away from bulk download, “experience later” applications. Real-time entertainment traffic – video and audio streaming, Flash media, peercasting, place-shifting – accounted for 26.6 percent of total traffic in 2009, up from 12.6 percent in 2008.
Overall, the “experience now” applications, which include real-time entertainment and real-time communications such as social networking, VoIP and gaming, continued their domination of peak evening hours, with usage growing substantially from 17.7 percent in 2008 to 32.8 percent in 2009.
“We live in a ‘right here, right now’ society, and that translates into time-sensitive gigabits,” said Dave Caputo, Sandvine’s co-founder, president and CEO. “As more and more consumers rely on their Internet connection for on-demand entertainment, it is increasingly necessary to protect the quality of experience. A key element for minimizing customer churn and increasing consumer satisfaction will be improving quality of experience, especially in times of congestion when these real-time applications are being utilized the most and are the most sensitive to latency and jitter.”
Other key findings include a shift in Internet usage peak times, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. in 2008 to 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in 2009. Sandvine’s global research also found that 1 percent of subscribers account for nearly 25 percent of total monthly Internet traffic, indicating a vast difference between the average subscriber and heavy users.
Other notable findings and regional comparisons include:
• North America consumes the most YouTube videos, followed closely by the Middle East and Africa.
• Africa uses Skype more often than any other region worldwide.
• BitTorrent is the dominant peer-to-peer file-sharing application by numbers of users and total bytes worldwide; however, in the Caribbean and Latin America, Ares protocol is the most popular.
• Asia-Pacific subscribers have the largest appetite for real-time entertainment.