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‘Arrested Development’ Debut Had ‘Noticeable’ Impact on Network Traffic

The reviews of Netflix’s revival of Arrested Development were mixed, causing Netflix shares to drop more than 6% Tuesday, but a sampling of preliminary data pulled together by bandwidth management vendor Procera Networks indicate that the debut of the new season on Sunday was a success when viewed through the lens of initial traffic generation.

About 10% of viewers fired up all 15 episodes from the new fourth season from Sunday and into Monday, Procera VP of global marketing Cam Cullen posted in a blog highlighting those preliminary results. The new season of Arrested Development became available at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, but Procera did not start monitoring that traffic until 9:30 a.m. Still, “we saw the episodes appear at a pretty regular pace throughout the day,” Cullen noted. 

Netflix doesn’t release streaming figures on a show-by-show basis, but “[f]rom our perspective, the launch was a success, and did have a noticeable affect on network traffic,” Cullen wrote.

Procera's analysis found that 36% of devices streaming  Neflix on Sunday via a specific (but undisclosed) DSL network monitored by the vendor had accessed at least part of one episode of Arrested Development -- more than three times the number it calculated for the February 1 premiere of  Netflix's House of Cards, which generated 11% viewing.

Procera's sample analysis posted Tuesday culled data from between ten to 15 broadband networks monitored by the vendor, a Procera spokesman said. 

Cullen added that one cable network watched by Procera saw Netflix traffic spike 10% on Sunday over the previous Sunday, with a corresponding 8% jump in the number of subscribers accessing Netflix overall.  

Overall, Procera’s preliminary data also found that peak usage for the new season of the series on Sunday was double what it saw on Monday, with 2% to 7% of total Netflix traffic on various ISP networks “being directly attributable to Arrested Development.” The show also represented 10% of all Network traffic on one U.S.-based university network monitored by the vendor.

Procera said the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 consoles generated the most traffic for Arrested Development on fixed line networks.

And the premiere of the new season made it an apparent target for piracy, as "there was quite a bit of activity on the file sharing/download sites for Arrested Development," Cullen wrote, adding that new movies and HBO's Game of Thrones still get the most attention from that group.

About 100,000 people downloaded episodes of the new season of Arrested Development within 24 hours of its premiere, PaidContent reported, citing data supplied by TorrentFreak. Though at six figures, that rate of thievery still doesn't compare to the 1 million-plus illegal downloads driven by the season four premiere of Game of Thrones in late March. According to TorrentFreak, Game of Thrones was the most downloaded TV show of 2012, highlighted by 4.28 million downloads of just one specific episode during the year.