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Sochi Games Having Minimal Effect On Netflix Traffic: Procera Study

Early TV and online coverage of the Sochi Games, including the network-delayed airing of the opening ceremonies on Friday, February 7, had a minimal impact on Netflix and YouTube streaming, bandwidth management firm Procera Networks said Sunday in its analysis of broadband traffic across various fixed and wireless ISPs.

That’s in stark contrast to the London Games in 2012, when Procera reported that Netflix traffic dropped significantly early on.

“Netflix appears to take NO hit in bandwidth usage from normal, unlike the 2012 Olympics,” Cam Cullen, Procera’s VP of global marketing, noted in this blog post. “None of the networks that we looked at had any statistically significant increase or drop from normal rates, and YouTube was similarly unaffected.”

According to Procera’s analysis of traffic from an unnamed “large cable operator” from Thursday (February 6) through Saturday (February 8), less than 1% of subscribers active on the network watched some Olympics coverage online. In the table below (a larger version of the graph can be obtained here), the green line represents traffic for, yellow is YouTube, blue is for general Web browsing, and orange represents Netflix traffic.

According to Procera’s analysis, Olympic streaming did spike in some generally colder  geographic portions of North America. Notably, Olympics streaming traffic represented about 10% of overall streaming during a peak time on a  “large cable network in the northern parts of North America,” the company said, noting that, in contrast, Olympic streaming represented less than 1% of total streaming traffic on a large cable network in the southern U.S.

During the first two days of events during the 2012 London games, Procera’s data showed that Olympics-related streaming represented as much as 34% of overall bandwidth on several U.S.-based broadband networks.

NBCU has yet to release early stats on its online coverage of the Sochi games. The programmer will stream more than 1,000 hours from XXII Olympic Winter Games from Russia, and is using a mix of auto-authentication and temporary credentials to help facilitate usage of the NBC Sports Live Extra app and the web site. More than 9.9 million devices were authenticated during the 2012 London games, according to NBCU.

NBC’s TV coverage of the Friday was the most-watched Opening Ceremony for a non-live Winter Games since Lillehammer, Norway in 1994, driving a 17.0 rating/28 share, and translating into 31.7 million viewers, according to Nielsen live + same-day data.