Covid-19: SVOD drives network surge in Europe | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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Research from Nokia has found that networks are seeing a massive increase in upstream traffic during the day from videoconferencing and in downstream traffic during weekends from subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services.
Netflix Spain TV UI 19march2020 2
Ever since the outbreak of the coronavirus and the vast increase in the amount of people working from home, network operators have had to deal with unprecedented demands on home networks as the lines between the office and home blur to being non-existent good news in the Nokia survey looking at the situation on networks in the week up to 9 April 2020, was that that the predicted mass strains on infrastructures from extra home usage appears so far to be under control by and large.

Nokia revealed that immediately after lockdown in the weeks ending 20 and 27 March as well as 2 April, there were weekday peak traffic increases of over 45% and in some cases even over 50%, with weekend evening peak traffic increases of over 20%-40% compared with pre-lockdown levels. Yet Nokia revealed that it has now seen this growth flattening, with most networks in lockdown displaying modest or no growth over the previous week.

Nokia attributed flattening traffic curves in Europe as likely to be due to a combination of peak video consumption reaching practical maximum levels and subscription video-on-demand services making quality of experience reductions to reduce network strain. Netflix was the first service to do this followed by YouTube TV and Amazon Prime Video.

While it said that overall consistent video streaming rates indicated sufficient network capacity, Nokia noted that by 9 April 2020, most recent weekend peak traffic volumes are still at least 20%-30% over pre-pandemic values. The bulk of network traffic at these peak hours, that is 21:00-23:00 Friday to Sunday, was down to SVOD services.

As an exemplar of this trend, Nokia recorded what it called an ‘interesting streaming video moment’ in Spain on Friday 4 April when SVOD traffic eclipsed its Saturday and Sunday peak levels which are typically higher. This came on the back of the 3 April launch of the fourth season of Netflix’s hugely popular Spanish original series La Casa de Papel (Money Heist). Comparing total (daily) peak traffic on Friday 4 April to Friday March 27, all traffic was up 47% while the number of Netflix streams increased by 36%. Nokia also found that the quality of Netflix streams – measured in terms of average bit rate, or streaming speed - increased by 11%. This it said was a positive sign but still below the speeds before Netflix’s voluntary reduction in streaming speeds, which started on 20 March.

The Nokia study came on the back of a study from the Reelgood film and TV streaming search engine service, based on playback/streams initiated from 16 March to 5 April, finding that Netflix was currently the most popular streaming service among consumers social distancing, snagging a share of almost 42% of all total playback for the past three weeks.