There are no active ads.

Advertisement

BitTorrent Piracy Returning as Video Streaming Gets Complicated

by Eric Frederiksen | October 3, 2018October 3, 2018 11:30 am PDT

TV and movie piracy, thought to be a thing of the past, is making its big return in 2018 after having been on the decline for years, according to Sandine’s new Global Internet Phenomena report. The cause? Video streaming is getting complicated and costly.

“Huge” isn’t the right word to describe how big video streaming is. Netflix alone consumes 15 percent of all internet bandwidth globally. That’s all internet usage on the entire literal planet Earth. YouTube accounts for 11.4 percent, while Amazon Prime accounts for 7.7 percent. Sandvine notes that Netflix’s dominance is even more impressive when you take into account  that its video encoding is more efficient than the other guys. If it wasn’t so good at squeezing its shows down, it would be even bigger.

Sandvine also notes that the growing popularity of VPNs means that some of these numbers are actually higher in reality than quoted here.

So, everybody is streaming video, all the time, and in huge amounts. But while that’s happening, BitTorrent traffic is growing for the first time in years. File sharing accounts for 22 percent of upstream traffic and 3 percent of downstream, globally. Back before video streaming had really taken root, BitTorrent accounted for 52 percent of upstream traffic, and that had dipped by half by the time 2015 rolled around. Now it’s rising again, especially in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The cause, Sandvine suggests, is that video streaming is no longer a one-stop shop.

“More sources than ever are producing exclusive content available on a single streaming or broadcast service,” the post notes. HBO has Game of Thrones, Netflix has House of Cards and 300 other shows, Hulu has The Handmaid’s Tale. If you want to watch all three, that’s three monthly subscriptions. Suddenly all that money we saved by cutting cables is just being sucked up into the cloud.

Further, many of these services are US-based and don’t have good distribution elsewhere.

Finally, some of these shows – most notably Game of Thrones – are so popular that if there’s any gap in airtime, people in other regions just download them. Sandvine notes that their numbers are from June right now, when there weren’t any new Game of Thrones episodes to kick the numbers up.

Piracy of video content dropped because of Netflix. Netflix changed everything. Suddenly, the convenience and price of legal video consumption were too good to pass up when compared against going to shady websites and waiting who knows how long to get access to a file you can’t watch on your TV without additional setup.

And this problem is only getting worse. Everyone is trying to start their own video services. Disney, the company responsible for nearly everything you watch, is starting its own service and removing its videos from Netflix. Even DC Comics has started a streaming service.

Streaming is getting more expensive, more complicated, and harder to access. Once again, piracy is starting to look to some people like the easier option or, in some areas, the only option.

Eric Frederiksen

Eric Frederiksen has been a gamer since someone made the mistake of letting him play their Nintendo many years ago, pushing him to beg for his own,...

Advertisement