The latest broadband traffic statistics show a drastic decline in BitTorrent and NNTP traffic, which is closely linked to online piracy, while video streaming service traffic is increasing rapidly.
MyBroadband’s 2017 Tech Survey confirmed this information, with the number of tech-savvy broadband users who pirate content dropping from 55% in March 2015 to 38% in February 2017.
In the 2015 survey, most users said they pirate because of convenience and because the content was not legally available in South Africa.
Since then, Netflix, ShowMax, and Amazon Prime Video have launched in South Africa, and DStv has significantly improved its Catch Up and online services.
DStv’s “Express from the US” also ensures that subscribers can watch TV series within 24 hours of broadcast in the United States.
The convenience and legal availability of more content in South Africa has had a direct effect on online piracy, which has plummeted over the last two years.
Cybersmart CTO Laurie Fialkov said BitTorent traffic on their network is about 20% of what it was two years ago.
“This is definitely because of cheap paid-for streaming,” said Fialkov. He said faster line speeds and locally-hosted content has made it possible for users to stream media instead of downloading it.
Axxess marketing director Franco Barbalich agreed, saying they have seen a significant decline in BitTorrent and NNTP usage since the launch of services like Netflix and ShowMax.
“In the past, we have had torrent traffic peak to as much as 50% of our total traffic consumption. Recently, torrent traffic peaks at about 20% of total consumption,” said Barbalich.
Barbalich said piracy traffic volumes are one-fifth of the traffic consumed by media streaming services like Netflix and ShowMax.
“When you add services like YouTube, this figure goes up to a 10:1 ratio,” he said.
BitTorrent and NNTP traffic are also the fastest-declining traffic groups, which shows the decline in the popularity of online piracy.