More than 70% of internet traffic during peak hours now comes from video and music streaming

We’re streaming more music and video than ever before.

A whopping 70% of North American internet traffic in peak evening hours comes from streaming video and audio sites like Netflix and YouTube, according to new research from broadband services company Sandvine. Five years ago, that so-called “real-time entertainment” content represented only 35% per cent of prime-time usage.

(We’re focused on the middle chart because “downstream” traffic is traffic that’s coming to your house, versus the “upstream” bandwidth that’s used for uploading content, filesharing, and online storage.)

Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Video are the top three sources of video traffic, with ~37%, ~18%, and ~3% respectively. Although traffic from Amazon’s video offering still pales in comparison to Netflix’s, this is the first year it broke into the top three.

Another interesting finding from Sandvine: The rise of Netflix and YouTube has continued to kill off BitTorrent, a file-sharing protocol that allows people to upload and download movies and TV. In 2011, BitTorrent was responsible for ~21% of all North American traffic. That sunk to 12% in 2012, and it’s down to a measly share of 5% of traffic this year.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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