Summary:

One out of six bytes sent to households in the US and Canada is part of a YouTube video: The service’s share of residential downstream traffic has been growing.

YouTube is now responsible for 17.1 percent of all residential fixed-line downstream traffic in North America, according to Sandvine’s latest global internet phenomena report.

The traffic management specialist’s report for the first half of 2013 still lists Netflix as the most popular bandwidth consumption pastime — 32.3 percent of all residential downstream traffic was caused by Netflix viewing. But YouTube’s share has been growing, and is up from 13.8 percent a year ago.

That in itself is notable, because most other services, including Netflix, HBO Go (0.34 percent) and Amazon Instant video (1.31 percent) have seen their share of traffic decline over the same period. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that people watch less Amazon Instant than a year ago; the company’s total share of a growing bandwidth pie is just smaller. But YouTube seems to be growing faster than any of these other services, at least on wired networks.

One reason for this kind of momentum could be the company’s emphasis of premium content as well as channel subscriptions. YouTube relaunched its site in late 2011, and gave sizeable advances to a number of content producers in 2012 to encourage more quality serialized content on the site. However, Sandvine seems to think that there’s another reason for the uptick. From the study:

“We believe the increase is attributed to the continued growth of smartphone and tablet use within the home (i.e. “Home Roaming”); as observed in this study, such devices consume over a quarter of all streaming audio and video on fixed access networks.”

YouTube did release its iPhone app in September, and followed up with an Pad app in December.

For more on Sandvine’s report, check out Stacey Higginbotham’s story Sandvine report confirms: video makes bandwidth hogs of us all

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