How Netflix's Traffic Actually Compares To Other Streaming Sites

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TV shows and movies are easier than ever to watch online nowadays, and there are a number of major platforms that offer streaming video with only the click of a button. Netflix seems to get the most buzz of any of the streaming services currently available, largely thanks to its vast (and growing) library of originals. Now, a study has been released that reveals just how Netflix compares to its competition.

According to a report from the analytics firm Sandvine, Netflix generated a third of all downstream online streaming video traffic in 2016 in the ranking of the ten most popular streaming sites. In fact, Netflix generated more than twice as much traffic as its closest runner up, which in 2016 was YouTube. Netflix can claim 35.2% of the traffic, while YouTube can only claim 17.5%. If the numbers from Sandvine are accurate, Netflix had a very good year compared to its competition.

That said, we can't absolutely guarantee that Sandvine is on the money with every decimal point. Sure, a report from an outside analytics firm like Sandvine likely won't be biased toward any one company, but it also might not have exact numbers from the ten companies examined in the report. The data isn't necessarily inaccurate; we just can't be entirely certain that every percentage point is exactly correct.

Still, the vast differences between the top three streaming sites mean that it doesn't really matter if Sandvine is off by a percentage point or two. The site that came in third behind Netflix and YouTube in 2016 was Amazon Video, and the numbers weren't even close. Amazon Video can only claim 4.3% of the web traffic, which pales in comparison to Netflix's 35.2% and YouTube's 17.5%. The other seven video sources that made the Top 10 list are "other" with 4.2%, iTunes with 2.9%, Hulu with 2.7%, SSL-Other with 2.5%, Xbox One download with 2.2%, Facebook with 1.9%, and BitTorrent with 1.7%. All things considered, I'd say that Netflix doesn't have to worry about losing its top spot any time soon.

Interestingly, Amazon actually has a larger subscriber base than Netflix, as well as Comcast, Hulu, and HBO Now. The discrepancy between Amazon's larger number of subscribers and Netflix's domination of traffic may be due to the fact that not all subscribers to Amazon Prime actually use the Amazon Video option. Some may just pay for Amazon Prime to take advantage of other perks, such as the free two-day shipping and the option to borrow ebooks. The only thing we can really be sure of is that Netflix is still king when it comes to video traffic on streaming sites.

Take a look at our 2017 Netflix premiere schedule to see what you can catch on the popular streaming service in the coming months, and don't forget to check out our midseason TV premiere schedule for a look at what else is available on the small screen for your viewing pleasure.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.