Netflix’s troubles in Latin America may officially be over: The streaming video service now accounts for 5.5 percent of all peak residential downstream traffic over fixed networks across the continent, according to the most recent Global Internet Phenomena report from traffic management company Sandvine.
That’s still nowhere near the 34.89 percent of peak downstream traffic [company]Netflix[/company] causes in North America, but it’s a significant increase over last year, when the streaming service only was responsible for 2.2 percent of peak downstream traffic across Latin America. Here’s how the Sandvine folks put it in their report:
“While not yet at the levels observed on North American networks, Netflix continues to be the clear bandwidth share leader in paid-streaming video services in Latin America.”
Netflix launched across Latin America in 2011, and initially had a hard time finding and especially retaining customers across the continent. Part of this may have been due to pricing — $8 may not be a whole lot of money in the U.S., but the same amount is a lot more significant in a country like Bolivia or Colombia, which are considered to be some of the poorest Latin American countries.
Netflix also struggled with was payment methods. However, the company ended up introducing prepaid options in some markets, and in recent months, executives have struck a much more optimistic tone about their business in countries like Mexico, Brazil and Chile in particular.
Netflix’s CFO David Wells recently said during an investor event that the company was “a little bit naive” when it first entered Latin America, but that things have turned around. “LatAm continues to be a very good market for us,” said Wells.
It’s worth noting that traffic data is somewhat of a fuzzy indicator for growth, as it can be influenced by other factors as well. For example, Netflix started to offer more of its catalog in higher resolutions in 2013, and began streaming select titles in 4K this year.
However, Netflix’s traffic share growth in Latin America stands out, even when compared with other regions. In the U.S., the service’s traffic share grew about ten percent year over year. Netflix doesn’t release detailed subscriber numbers for any of its international markets, and instead aggregates all of its international subscribers. In its most recent quarter, Netflix reported a total of 15.84 million subscribers across all of its international markets.
Chart courtesy of Sandvine