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Is Netflix Streaming Helping To Reduce Piracy?

Posted by: , 15:53 AEST, Sat April 30, 2011

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Netflix now accounts for a huge percentage of Internet traffic in the US, outweighing piracy traffic by a significant margin

According to newly released figures, Netflix streaming usage in the US now accounts for 40% of all bandwidth usage in the evenings, an amazing figure that could suggest legitimate digital distribution is winning the war against illegal content. In fact, BitTorrent usage is now down to only 8% of Internet usage.

However, a separate piece of data says that P2P file sharing usage actually increased from 15.1% of all Internet usage, to 19.2%, from 2009 to 2010, although the same data also confirmed the rise of streaming and other real-time entertainment offerings, up from 29.5% to 42.7%.

The first set of numbers, provided by Arbor Network, and based on data collected from ISPs, seems to indicate that legitimate content is winning the war against BitTorrent, at the very least. 

"I think Netflix, iTunes and Direct Download all play a role in the diminishing P2P traffic volumes," sad Abor Network's chief scientist Craig Labovitz. Direct downloads, which include pirated downloads from digital locker websites such as RapidShare and MegaUpload, as well as all legitimate types of downloads, accounted for 20% of all usage.

But if Netflix is winning the war, it is because they offer instant playback, as opposed to having to wait for pirated releases, find them, and then download them, all of which takes time. 

The conflicting second set of numbers comes from networked management firm Sandvine, which shows P2P usage growing from 2009 to 2010 at least.

Whichever data is correct, one thing is for sure, and that is that legitimate content is still dominant when it comes to Internet traffic, despite the scare campaign mounted by the RIAA and MPAA, and that legitimate traffic appears to be growing at a much faster rate than pirated downloads and streaming, and all despite heavy resistance from the industry.

Do you believe the best way to fight piracy is to provide legal, and better, services such as what Netflix has tried to provide, or do you think legal enforcement and kicking people off the Internet is the solution? Post you opinion in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread: 


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