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Netflix Internet Traffic Soars During House of Cards

March 17, 2015 By Finley Engineering in

One hit show apparently can have a major impact on Internet traffic when its delivery method is over-the-top. Finley Engineering broadband clients can relate, we’re sure.

Netflix has found itself with a big hit on its hands as it ramps up activity at its in-house TV and movie production unit. A key success story is the popular and critically acclaimed House of Cards, whose third season debuted recently, notes Sandvine’s Dan Deeth in a March 2 blog post.

Leaving aside the impact on Netflix subscriber numbers, Deeth delves briefly into what House of Cards means for network operators. Network traffic data from one North American fixed network operator revealed a “marked increase in traffic” during House of Cards Season 3 launch weekend in comparison with the previous weekend.

Netflix traffic on this ISP’s network rose 10-15 percent for the weekend, in which Netflix Sunday traffic increased 30-35 percent, according to Deeth’s analysis.

A caveat, Deeth notes, is that Internet traffic typically peaks on Sunday evenings. “Subscribers can only stream when they have free time, and for many households Sunday evening is far less busy than Friday or Saturday evening,” he points out.

A devoted House of Cards fan himself, Deeth also cautions readers not to use stats from his analysis to try to glean anything about House of Cards’ ratings. “This data only demonstrates a change in Netflix bandwidth, which coincides with the launch of House of Cards,” he writes. “It’s likely a ton of people streamed the new season this weekend, but had it not been available they would likely have used Netflix to watch something else, like they do every weekend.

Sandvine’s “2H 2014 Global Internet Phenomena Report” reveals that Netflix continues to dominate North America’s Over-the-Top (OTT) video market, certainly in terms of Internet traffic. OTT streaming of Netflix video content accounted for 34.9 percent of downstream traffic during peak evening hours, according to Sandvine’s latest report.