Nielsen Data Offers Real Reason ISPs Are Metering

A report out today from Nielsen shows why Internet Service Providers and telecommunications equipment vendors are increasingly demonizing video. It consumes a lot of bandwidth, and could compete with an ISP’s existing video businesses, but the worst part is that it’s rapidly becoming more popular to the average consumer. From the report:

  • The number of American users frequenting online video destinations has climbed 339 percent since 2003.
  • Time spent on video sites has shot up almost 2,000 percent over the same period.
  • In the last year alone, unique viewers of online video grew 10 percent, the number of streams grew 41 percent, the streams per user grew 27 percent and the total minutes engaged with online video grew 71 percent.
  • Despite online video’s persistent positive buzz, actual usage is averaging around six minutes per day in the U.S.

Two things are driving these trends: Better access to content in the form of PC-to-TV hardware and services like Hulu, NetFlix and iTunes HD downloads, and faster connection speeds that make downloading movies in HD possible. However video still has a lot of growth ahead for it, which is why ISPs are building out faster networks as well as why they are talking about caps and metered broadband.