Netflix uses twice as much bandwidth as YouTube in the USA

If you speak to people about watching films, clips and stuff online, they will often throw YouTube in your face. But, just today I read an article telling that Netflix is responsible for twice as much bandwidth in the USA as YouTube is.

In fact, during peak hours Netflix is responsible for almost 35% of all bandwidth used in the United States, while YouTube is responsible for about 14% of the bandwidth during the same period. That means more than twice as much bandwidth is used by Netflix. Does this mean Netflix has more users than Netflix? Not at all… and this is why?

YouTube and Netflix bandwidth usage

Donald Duck on YoutubeThe truth is that if you watch a 60min clip of YouTube, then that will normally cause you to use something like 500 MB of bandwidth. This is of course generalizing the subject, because it for sure depends on the quality of the video and the speed of your ISP, but based on tests, that could be near the truth. If you then go to Netflix, and we for sure do, and then we decide to watch a House of Cards episode which lasts around 55 mins (let us say one hour just to make things easier). If you then measure the amount of bandwidth used during the 60 minutes you have been using in front of the monitor watching Netflix you will find out that you have used around 10 times more bandwidth watching 60 minutes of Netflix, compared to watching 60 minutes of YouTube. In other words, you can sit 10 hours in front of the computer watching YouTube, and only then will you have used just as much bandwidth as if you had been watching 1 hour of Netflix.

So, this is of course not possible, but let us say that the 35% bandwidth used by Netflix users represent 35 minutes watched online. If you use some math, then that would mean the amount we are watching Netflix would be 14% multiplied with 10, meaning that we watch 140 minutes of YouTube during the same period. Those are some nice numbers, because that means exactly 75% people spend their time on YouTube, while 25% of the people spend their time on Netflix. That is of course a bit better that all the 25% using Netflix pay every month to do so, meaning that it is much better value than having 75% people maybe press an add now and then!


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