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Nevermind Netflix − YouTube has been our best friend during the coronavirus lockdown

The most dominant streaming platform during the coronavirus lockdown hasn’t been Netflix or Disney Plus, but YouTube.

That’s according to Sandvine’s new Covid-19 Global Internet Phenomena report, which analyses internet traffic around the world between February 1 and April 19.

YouTube has accounted for 15.94% of all global traffic during the first few months of the global shutdown, with Netflix just behind, with an 11.42% share.

Related: Disney Plus vs Netflix

“YouTube’s short-form video, even in the time of binge-watching, still leads the way, driven largely by the youth that will never purchase a cable subscription, and many that won’t even purchase OTT services (or at most one or two),” Sandvine’s report reads.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, YouTube is a major source of information for consumers – not just on what is happening in the world, but also on new recipes, fitness programs, DIY masks, and a whole host of topics that people seek an authoritative voice on – which YouTube is regarded to be the worldwide leader in.”

Netflix did come out on top in North and South America, taking a 19.11% share of overall traffic in the region. YouTube was the next most popular streaming service, with a 14.43% share, followed by Amazon Prime (2.89%), Hulu (2.85%) and Disney Plus (2%).

“The Americas is the only segment or region in the COVID-19 Phenomena Report where YouTube is not number one overall. Netflix has always been strongest in North America, and once the shutdown began, Netflix traffic levels jumped significantly, powered by binge-watching of both original content and licensed content,” the report explains.

“Netflix thrived during the report period, and actually grew stronger as the shutdown dragged on, indicating that the shows that consumers may have finished their first wave of binge-watching and have now turned to Netflix’s extensive library for entertainment.”

In Europe, YouTube has been the undisputed top dog, accounting for 16.23% of traffic. The next most popular entertainment source has been, ahem, BitTorrent (8.38%), followed by Netflix (7.69%).

“As is normal in EMEA, BitTorrent is one of the leading applications in the region. Unlike the Americas where people are binge-watching through OTT services, many EMEA consumers binge-watch by pirating entire movies or TV series through BitTorrent clients to get around paying for multiple OTT services,” the report says.

It adds: “YouTube was ahead of the global average, but Netflix was lagging its global number, which … has a lot to do with the content library throughout Europe.”

Related: Best VPNs for streaming

The top 10 most popular video streaming services during the lockdown are as follows:

  • YouTube
  • Netflix
  • HTTP media stream (streaming on the web)
  • Facebook Video
  • TikTok
  • Amazon Prime
  • Hulu
  • Disney Plus
  • Twitch
  • IPTV

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