Online movies luring viewers away from primetime TV

October 26, 2011
Services allowing North Americans to watch movies and television shows over the Internet is luring droves of viewers away from primetime television, a report showed Wednesday.

Services allowing North Americans to watch movies and television shows over the Internet is luring droves of viewers away from primetime television, a report showed Wednesday.

Waterloo, Ontario-based Sandvine said such online streaming has risen dramatically over the past year to become the top in North America during the peak period of 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.

What it calls real-time entertainment now accounts for 60 percent of all Internet traffic in the evening, up 10 percentage points from last year, according to the data it has aggregated from network service providers.

The majority of real-time entertainment (55 percent) is destined for game consoles, set-top boxes, smart TVs and mobile devices used at home, while only 45 percent goes to desktop and , according to the report.

The trend risks creating problems in handling data surges during peak periods for networks, Sandvine warned.

Canadian Internet service providers have been cautioned against bandwidth throttling -- limiting uploads -- as this violates Canadian guidelines.

So Sandvine suggested they start charging premiums for primetime downloads.

The report explained that game consoles such as Sony's Playstation and Microsoft XBox are powering this online movie watching phenomenon, through manufacturers partnering with content producers.

Microsoft, for instance, announced this month a massive expansion of content providers for its , including heavyweights Bravo, Comcast, HBO, BBC, Telefonica and Rogers on Demand.

Also, "when subscribers watching online video are free to choose between screens, they generally choose to watch content on the largest screen available to them," the report noted.

A TV offers a better viewing experience than a computer, but a larger screen size also means higher data usage. For example, when watching a video on a 60-inch high definition plasma screen, most subscribers will opt for the highest video fidelity available.

According to Sandvine's report, the most popular real-time entertainment sites include Netflix, YouTube, Hulu and Google Video.

Explore further: Netflix customer growth eclipses 3Q earnings miss

Related Stories

Netflix video 'king' of US Internet traffic: study

May 17, 2011

Films and television shows streamed online by Netflix amount to nearly 30 percent of the content racing downstream on the US Internet during peak periods, according to a study released Tuesday.

Annoyed consumers have alternatives to Netflix

September 28, 2011

If you're ticked off at Netflix because of its recent price increases and service changes, the good news is you've got plenty of options for streaming video. The bad news is that none offers exactly what you get from Netflix.

Microsoft brings TV content to the Xbox

October 5, 2011

(AP) -- Owners of the Xbox 360 will soon be able to watch a broad breadth of TV shows and other content through their gaming consoles - though most of that won't be free.

Recommended for you

The ethics of robot love

November 25, 2015

There was to have been a conference in Malaysia last week called Love and Sex with Robots but it was cancelled. Malaysian police branded it "illegal" and "ridiculous". "There is nothing scientific about sex with robots," ...

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.