Quarantine streaming hours might be why your internet’s slow right now

Chris Burns - Apr 29, 2020, 5:12 pm CDT
Quarantine streaming hours might be why your internet’s slow right now

We’re here at the end of the month in April of 2020, and our internet is going pretty slow. It’s a real issue, and it’s a bummer, especially now that we’re all stuck at home, using the internet almost constantly. Why is our data going slow now, here at the end of the month? Could it be because we’re streaming a LOT of media every single day, and our internet provider starts throttling our data speed after we’ve used a given amount of data for the month? If what Nielson’s suggested about the average Netflix use during quarantine in 2020 vs 2019, yes, that’s a definite possibility.

Data on Netflix streaming users in the month of March was reportedly 85% higher than the same period in the year 2019. That’s according to Nielson analysis, which also suggests that the week of March 16 had a 220% increase in viewing hours of streaming services on TV sets compared to the same week in 2019. Netflix benefits from this overall increase in viewership more than any other service on the streaming media list.

Information on Netflix user activity for the month of March, 2019, comes from Netflix itself. Netflix Cindy Holland spoke at the 2019 INTV conference via Deadline and suggested some general data on Netflix viewers. She suggested that Netflix users were streaming “two hours a day” on an average day, and more on weekends and holidays.

Netflix reported they had 60.23 million subscribers in the USA in Q1 of 2019. Collectively, Netflix users in the USA watched effectively 120,460,000 hours a content a day, or 6.613-billion hours per month. Per data calculated by the crew at Kill The Cable Bill*, Netflix users were streaming around 6GB of data per day, or 180GB per month, which translates to around 10.8 million TB per month for subscribers collectively.

Per a Nielsen report, Netflix rolls with the lion’s share of video streaming on TV. Their report showed Netflix representing 30% of all tracked streaming minutes in the week ending on March 9, 2020, and 29% for the week ending on March 16, 2020.

As relayed by Variety, a Nielsen report showed US consumer’s viewing of streaming services – JUST to TV sets – was an estimated 400 billion minutes for the first three weeks of March 2020. Nielson’s reported statistics here suggest an increase of 85% compared to the same period in March of 2019.

A *Kill The Cable Bill report extrapolated on both the 2-hour metric shared by Netflix for this period in 2019 and Nielsen analysis which suggested a 61% increase in streaming video hours for the average user. If this is true, KTCB calculated, Netflix users might well be streaming an average of 3.2 hours of video per day.

Expanding on data that suggests the most popular Netflix tier is the middle tier, and the metric of “about 3GB of data an hour on average” for streaming in HD, KTCB suggests Netflix users are streaming around 9.6GB of data per day. No wonder you’re seeing slower data speeds at the end of the month – you’re probably being throttled!

If you think your internet’s being throttled at any point in your day, take a peek at the site The Internet Health Test and tap the “START THE TEST” button. It shouldn’t be a shock to find that you’re having a slower experience here before May starts. Meanwhile, Netflix, Disney+, and other services are lowering streaming quality to lower internet congestion worldwide.

You might also want to take a peek at Google’s Video Quality Report to see what’s going on with the various internet service providers (ISP) in your area. Turns out, they’re not all the same!

Must Read Bits & Bytes