HBO’s OTT Grows With ‘GoT’

HBO might have Game of Thrones, but Netflix still rules the realm when it comes to over-the-top traffic.

That was abundantly clear after Sandvine released a snapshot of over-the-top video traffic for the evening of Sunday, April 12, when Game of Thrones season five premiered on HBO and via the premium channel’s authenticated HBO Go app and new HBO Now standalone service.

Based on the traffic mix seen within one fixed network in the eastern U.S. (the Internet-service provider was not identified), Sandvine said HBO Now traffic saw a healthy gain that night, though the levels were still a relative drop in the bucket versus the OTT video streams generated by Netflix and YouTube (see chart). Those figures do not factor in HBO traffic originating with Sling TV, Dish Network’s new OTT pay TV service for cord-cutters.

Despite this limited, one-night/one-network view, it did indicate that HBO Go was a popular app for the GoT premiere. Although HBO Go traffic tends to be higher on Sunday nights, Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena Report released in November 2014 found that HBO Go accounted for about 1% of downstream traffic during peak periods in the U.S.

As for HBO Now’s small showing, Sandvine noted that the service had been available for less than a week and was still limited in reach (offered initially by Apple and Cablevision Systems’s Optimum Online). HBO Now also has to contend with HBO Go password-sharing.