Internet traffic in France: 50% comes from Netflix, Google, Akamai and Facebook

The latest report from the telecoms regulator confirms the very important place Netflix occupies on the French Internet network. It also shows the progress of Twitch.

Netflix is ​​still the service that generates the most Internet traffic in France. The telecoms regulator’s report on the open Internet, the latest version of which was published on July 7, 2021, confirms the domination of the American giant of video on demand by subscription (SVOD) on the French network, far ahead of its pursuers, even if they are called Google or Facebook.

What do we read? Data from the Electronic Communications Regulatory Authority show that at the end of 2020, Netflix alone accounted for just over 20% of Internet traffic in France. Behind, we find Google, around 13%, then Akamai, under 10%, just like Facebook. Fifth place goes to Amazon, which does not reach 5% of traffic in metropolitan France.

The ranking of the most important sources of traffic. // Source: Arcep

In its July 2021 observatory, Arcep notes that “ the gap is widening between the volume of traffic coming from Netflix and that of other content providers ”, Although a relative decrease can be observed compared to the previous report. The SVOD giant then occupied nearly 23% of French traffic, according to statistics stopped at the end of 2019.

The top quartet – Netflix, Google, Akamai and Facebook – remains unchanged and weighs in everything ” 50% of traffic to customers of major ISPs in France », Notes the regulator. However, it is possible to present the ranking differently: Arcep has chosen to separate Amazon and Twitch by making them two separate services, while the second has been a subsidiary of the first since 2014.

However, the weight of Twitch in the French Internet: ranked in ninth position in the report at the end of 2019, the site for broadcasting live video game games rose to seventh place at the end of 2020. The platform’s success is undeniable , with more and more Internet users following the video game adventures of videographers. By adding the weight of Twitch to that of Amazon, it could be at the level of Facebook.

In addition to the well-identified net giants, several lesser-known platforms appear quite high in the ranking: this is the case of companies like Akamai, Level 3 CDN, EdgeCast, LimeLight, CDN77 or even Fastly. These companies are caching specialists, for the benefit of other companies, so that content, such as sites or videos, is displayed more quickly to Internet users.

The gap widens between the volume of traffic coming from Netflix and that of other content providers

Arcep notes that these four players, which focus 50% of traffic in France, illustrate “ an increasingly clear concentration of traffic between a small number of players whose position in the content market is strengthened “. This number changes from one year to the next, and not always on the rise: two years ago, Arcep estimated the share of the top 4 at 53%. A year ago, it was estimated at 55%.

The domination of Netflix in France is justified by a number of factors: first, video is a type of content which by nature involves a significant volume of data. Then, the quality of these same videos increases with the arrival of increasingly important definitions – 4K is thus becoming more and more common, and Netflix has taken this turn.

The success of Netflix in France also has a multiplier effect: at the start of 2020, we learned that the SVOD site had 6.7 million subscribers in the country. A figure that has undoubtedly increased since then (worldwide, Netflix exceeded the 200 million customer mark at the start of the year). This figure is anyway underestimated, because the same account can be shared by several Internet users, legally or not.

However, Netflix strives to optimize its streams as much as possible, by deploying increasingly efficient codecs – one of them has even been distinguished with an Emmy Award for its quality in video compression – to be able to reduce the amount of data required for a scene. The platform had also played on the bitrate to reduce its weight on the networks during containment.

What about Disney +?

The ranking of Arcep seems to forget a major player: Disney +. This other SVOD giant is however enjoying undeniable success, including in mainland France. This apparent absence is only an illusion: ” Disney+ appears in this ranking through its various CDNs ”, These famous caching specialists. The company has indeed made the choice to go through third parties, rather than having its own CDN.

The architecture chosen by Disney was not based on its own CDN but on the use of third-party CDNs », Notes Arcep in its report. This choice, which saves Disney from worrying about the technical part and having to deal with servers and pipes, can have drawbacks, such as ” saturate a shared interconnection link with multiple other content in the event of peak usage linked to the launch of the platform “.

Disney + also has a strong footprint on French networks, via its CDNs. // Source: Disney +

This is why the launch of Disney + had made a lot of talk in France in the spring of 2020, because it occurred during a period of confinement, at one point you had to stay at home. However, a concern existed on a saturation of the networks, which was more solicited than usual. ” The resizing of certain interconnections may therefore have been necessary to prevent possible risks of network congestion. », Writes Arcep.

This is why the release of Disney + was postponed by a few weeks and that 4K was unavailable at the beginning, before being restored later. The operators said they were worried about the impact of the arrival of such a juggernaut on the networks. ” Disney sends from the United States […] For our networks, it makes a big difference », Noted an executive at Orange, where Netflix has, over time, implemented more detailed management of its videos.

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