Despite aggressive attempts by Facebook to capture some of the internet video market from Netflix and YouTube, the social networking website has not achieved much success. Overall, Netflix is dominating the market in terms of bandwidth, while YouTube is still receiving much more web traffic than Facebook.
Reports indicate that YouTube currently controls about 18% of all internet activity in the United States, up from 14% a year prior. Meanwhile, Facebook controls 2.5% of American web traffic, which is down from 3% last year.
However, the real winner is Netflix, which is by far the biggest video streamer in the United States with about 36% of traffic. Meanwhile, other prominent names such as Amazon and Hulu are far behind Netflix. That being said, both Amazon and Hulu have surpassed Facebook in the past year. Facebook now sits in fifth place for downstream traffic.
Since streamed videos use very large amounts of bandwidth, controlling the streaming market means controlling virtually all web traffic.
The reason that Netflix absolutely dominates this statistic is the fact that users stream long, high-quality files that use extremely large amounts of bandwidth. While YouTube is highly popular, most videos are short and easier to stream.
Additionally, the method of conducting this measurement is not in favor of Facebook. Most downstream traffic statistics are obtained during prime time evening hours. While the video services typically experience large increases in traffic during this time, Facebook does not.
Facebook has been working hard to get its users to watch videos on its website. According to representatives of the social networking site, 500 million people watch over 8 billion videos every day on Facebook. Recently, the company added 360 degree videos to try and win over some viewers. The company is also testing ways for users to share live streams.
However, many people question the statistics coming out of Facebook. On Facebook, videos start playing automatically, and a view is tallied if it isn’t stopped within three seconds. Hence, many of these “views” are most likely just annoyed users who couldn’t get to the pause button within three seconds.
Additionally, since these videos are usually short, not much bandwidth is used. It’s almost unrealistic for Facebook to try and compete with Netflix and YouTube in that matter.
Still, boasting a heavier percentage of web traffic in terms of bandwidth used would mean more advertising dollars for Facebook. While Facebook is still seen as very important for advertisers, many companies are drawn to YouTube because of the numbers.
In the near future, Facebook might have yet another competitor, as Google is reportedly planning to launch a subscription video service very similar to that of Netflix. If Google succeeds, it will certainly shake up the market. For now, Facebook will continue to try and win over users, but the odds of it ever becoming a prominent video website seem unlikely.