Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Will Netflix Kill Cable? or Is It the Other Way Around?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Will Netflix Kill Cable? or Is It the Other Way Around?

Article excerpt

The Internet's march toward media domination continues, and Netflix seems to be leading the way.

The streaming-TV service now accounts for 36.5 percent of the total bandwidth consumed by North American users during peak traffic periods, up nearly two percent since November, according to the latest report by Canada-based network company Sandvine.

The report reflects a trend that has become clear in the last few years: Demand for Netflix, and online video in general, is growing at an incredible pace.

How that will shape the content service industry remains a big unknown. Does the growth of Netflix and its ilk herald the death of cable TV, as consumers cut the cord in favor of streaming services? Or does it strengthen broadband providers - many of them cable companies - as online video services increasingly rely on fast, high- quality Internet?

"Netflix no longer takes up just a third of Internet traffic anymore. Now it's edging closer to two-fifths," tech reporter Brian Fung wrote in a blog for The Washington Post.

Together, Netflix and YouTube already account for more than half all bandwidth consumed in North America, based on the Sandvine study. By 2019, video could represent up to 80 percent of the world's Internet traffic consumption, according to tech giant Cisco's annual report on the future of the web.

"It would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2019," the report predicted.

Or, as Mr. Fung succinctly put it, "Video is eating the Web."

Less certain is who comes out on top as a result.

Yes, online video and streaming services are gaining serious ground. Netflix saw more than 4 million new subscribers in the last quarter of 2014, bringing its total subscriber base to more than 57 million worldwide. About 40 percent of US homes now have access to subscription video on-demand (SVOD), according to Nielsen's Total Audience Report, released in March. …

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