The frenzied sign up to the US streaming media platform Netflix increased traffic on iiNet’s network, Australia’s second largest internet service provider with more than 1.3 million customers, by 25% in less than one month.
“We rolled out the red carpet for Netflix,” Mark Dioguardi, iiNet’s chief technology officer, told Business Insider.
His customers wanted to subscribe to Netflix and watch without worrying about extra charges, so that’s what they were given, an uncapped data deal to view Netflix.
Netflix, which launched on March 24, hasn’t yet revealed subscriber numbers but demand was forecast to be high because many Australians had already signed up before the local launch using services to get around geo-blocking.
Optus, another ISP offering uncapped watching of Netfix via its network, won’t say exactly what’s happening to its network.
Dioguardi at iiNet says he expects Netflix usage to keep growing. Some experts say it will eventually represent one-third to 50% of traffic.
“It now almost totally exceeds the total of all Youtube and Apple content across our whole network and that’s in 28 days,” he says.
“We would expect to do that sort of growth on our network normally in about nine months. There really is a new trajectory of growth.”
And has that affected internet speed on iiNet?
“Most of our network is highly scaleable … and it’s got plenty of capacity,” he says. “That’s why you’re seeing the traffic just grow and grow and grow on our network.
“There are small pockets of our customers sitting on skinnier pipes … but that’s a small amount and getting less and less every day. I think we’re doing very well to support the traffic and we’re getting better at it every day. Our networks will scale up to stay ahead of the demand.”
Streaming media is growing on other platforms including Quickflix, the ASX-listed Australian streaming media and DVD rental service.
It says business has improved since competitors Netflix and Stan, the $100 million Fairfax Media and Nine entertainment joint venture, launched.
“Streaming is taking off in Australia and New Zealand and the newly competitive environment, with increased mainstream advertising and promotion, is increasing overall demand,” said CEO Stephen Langsford, announcing March quarter results.
The Perth-based company says it recorded a 6% rise in paying customers to 123,553 by the end of March. And the volume streamed was 34% higher than the previous quarter. Quickflix now streams more than one million hours a month, almost double that of a year ago.
Revenue for the March quarter was steady at $5 million. Expenses were down 3% to $5.8 million. The company has cash at the bank of $1.3 million.