Friday, November 05, 2010

Netflix and You

    I am not a morning person, okay Company?  I like the morning time, I think it is the best time of the day, but I don't like waking up and getting going.  With that little kernel of knowledge, realize that I was pretty groggy and out of it when I saw it scroll across the bottom of my TV screen this morning that streaming movies and TV shows to Netflix is taking up 20% of US bandwidth.
    Yeah, that's right.  And you know what?  Turns out it is true and my morning mush brain wasn't just twisting together two other stories into one super crazy one.  During peak evening hours, Netflix's streaming services are consuming 20% of available bandwidth in the United States.  That is astounding if you really start to think about it.  That is one-fifth of the bandwidth of one of the most technologically wired countries in the world.  The mind reels, as Lewis Black would say.  Now think about this: for all that bandwidth being consumed by Netflix, that only represents 1.8% of their subscribers.
     Wow.  Now that is another stunning figure.  So 1.8% of people who have the option are using up 20% of the bandwidth.  That means that if every person who was a Netflix subscriber tried to stream a TV show at the same time in the evening there wouldn't be enough bandwidth for them to do so.  That is just how big Netflix has become.
     The other fact that is sort of hidden in between the lines of this story is that people are beginning to move away from live television at an alarming rate.  There are tens of thousands of people who would rather watch old seasons of TV shows and movies beamed to their gaming consoles and computers than current TV shows beamed to their cable or satellite or God forbid digital tuner boxes, which is absolutely amazing.  What would you be thinking if you were a network television executive and were reading this?  How do you process that?
     Almost everything in this world is available on demand, and as such we as a society have been losing a lot patience. And we now would rather have season or week-old television shows that we probably already know what happens beamed to us at our convenience rather than having to be sitting in front of the television at 8 pm on every Wednesday.  Out of control.  It just measures a very pronounced shift in the way we go about entertaining ourselves.  And the numbers are becoming staggering.  So enjoy your Netflix, Company.  But be prepared for things to load a little slowly, there isn't a whole lot of bandwidth to go around anymore.

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