BitTorrent traffic dropping sharply in US, as VOD wins favour

The amount of traffic generated in the US by BitTorrent, the file sharing internet protocol , has dropped significantly of late, according to a report from policy control company Sandvine.

Over the past six months BitTorrent accounted for 9.2 per cent of peak-period traffic, down from 11.3 per cent in 2012 and 17.2 per cent in 2011, the report said. Sandvine attributes the drop in the usage of the file sharing protocol to the increasing availability of subscriber-based, paid-for, on-demand content from applications such as Netflix. Indeed, online video service Netflix maintained a 29 per cent peak-period traffic share in the US, ahead of YouTube, which climbs to 15.4 per cent compared to 13.8 per cent in 2012.

“We believe as more over-the-top Real-Time Entertainment sources are made available to subscribers in the future, the rate of decline in share will begin to accelerate,” the report claims.

The report’s author also said that the decline in BitTorrent usage was foreseen and that it had previously predicted that by 2015 BitTorrent usage would drop to less than ten per cent in North America, a figure it said has now already come to pass.

However, in the Asia Pacific region, where applications such as Netflix are less entrenched, BitTorrent sits at the top spot for peak period internet traffic usage.

As far as Europe is concerned, BitTorrent peak period traffic share remained high at 40.63 per cent, but the report believes that like the US, its days of traffic domination are on the wane. “Subscribers are likely using applications like BitTorrent to procure audio and video content not available in their region,” said the report. “We believe that Filesharing’s share of traffic may have finally reached its peak in terms of traffic share and will begin to experience a steady and significant decline, as paid OTT video services continue to expand their availability throughout the region.”

In a 2011 interview with, BitTorrent CEO Eric Klinker said that ISPs should be incentivising consumers to use the protocol. “It is very network friendly, and represents an instance where applications, user and network provider all work together to solve the problem [of network congestion].”

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