New report shows how Canadians are addicted to Netflix, YouTube


When it comes to how Canadians use their monthly data allotments, we’re a fairly predictable bunch: we generally love to watch TV shows and movies online, and find joy in sharing photos with friends and family. Still, there’s interesting information to be gleaned if you look closely enough, which Sandvine, a company that describes itself as a provider of Internet network solutions for Canadian service providers, recently did.

In its new Canada Twitches, Steams, Streams and Snaps report, the company looks at how Canadians, across all the country’s major wired and wireless networks, use their data buckets. Sandvine has collected and compiled this data for a number of years, but 2015’s stats come from earlier in the year.

Starting with mobile app usage, Canadians love to use their smartphone cameras. Instagram and Snapchat rank among the top five mobile apps across every single Canadian wireless network.

Moreover, YouTube, not Netflix, continues to be the most used mobile app when it comes to mobile traffic; the Google-owned app accounts for 22 percent of all downstream traffic. The often short and shareable nature of a lot of YouTube videos make them a much better fit for mobile streaming than say a new original series from Netflix.

That said, the video streaming app is still the most popular service Canadians access on their wired connections. Netflix accounts for 34 percent of total evening downstream traffic. In 2011, the service only accounted for 13.5 percent of evening traffic.

More interestingly, Sandvine says its data shows a decline in peer-to-peer filesharing. In 2014, a little more than 15 percent of total downstream traffic was devoted to the illegal downloading of multimedia content. One year later, that number has dropped to 11 percent. For its part, the firm attributes the decline to the emergence of new over-the-top content delivery systems like CraveTV.

Lastly, videogame related services Twitch and Steam, which the report derives part of its title from, now represent two of the top 10 bandwidth consuming apps in country. While both these apps are certainly popular, their bandwidth usage probably has to do with the fidelity and size of modern games. Steam, for example, is a marketplace for digital games, and many of the games people use the service to download can be as large as 20 to 40 GB.