2 min read

Peer-to-peer file services like BitTorrent were seeing a decline in traffic over the last decade, with the increasing popularity of affordable streaming services like Netflix. The number of piracy streaming options fell and was said to be accounted for the services provided by the on-demand video services and strict anti-piracy laws. However, recent reports published by Sandvine, who has been keeping a close eye on the file-sharing traffic, suggested that the traffic for streaming file-services is now growing. The report also noted that BitTorrent was earlier evidently losing out on market share but is now emerging to be the leading file-sharing place with 97% share.

Over the past few years, Netflix had emerged as the leader in the streaming market and was single-handedly responsible for hosting a wide variety of content. While this was happening, the market observed a decrease in upstream and downstream file sharing of content, popularly called the torrents. This went on to suggest that the streaming market was rising and piracy downloading was reducing.
However, Netflix is no more the single most popular streaming services that exist. Other video streaming services like Amazon Prime videos, Hulu, and others have fragmented the market with popular content playing over multiple services. This seems to have re-introduced the traditional practice of file-sharing over the internet and BitTorrent has gained the market.

Sandvine’s report further stated the following in its report:

“More sources than ever are producing ‘exclusive’ content available on a single streaming or broadcast service – think Game of Thrones for HBO, House of Cards for Netflix, The Handmaid’s Tale for Hulu, or Jack Ryan for Amazon. To get access to all of these services, it gets very expensive for a consumer, so they subscribe to one or two and pirate the rest.”

File sharing involves uploading and downloading a part of a file over a peer-to-peer network. Reportedly, file sharing makes up for 3% of all download and 22% of all upload traffic. Here, BitTorrent enjoys the lion’s share with a massive 97% of all upstream file-sharing traffic. Evidently, fragmentation in the subscription video-on-demand market is playing the major role.

To know more about this in detail, check out the discussion thread on Hacker News.

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