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Netflix Still Dominates Streaming, but Amazon Is Picking Up Steam

Netflix and YouTube still account for a third of the Internet during prime time. But Amazon is making a move.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Netflix is still king of the video streamers, followed by YouTube. But Amazon, which has lagged far behind for many years, is beginning to make a move.

That’s the takeaway from a new report from Sandvine, the broadband networking company that provides periodic updates on Web data usage.

Sandvine’s newest report shows Netflix accounting for more than a third of North American broadband usage during primetime, with YouTube accounting for another 14 percent. Those levels haven’t changed much in the last year or so.

But Sandvine says Amazon, which accounted for 1.61 percent of broadband usage on “fixed line” accounts a year ago, is now up to 2.58 percent.

Here are Sandvine’s numbers from a year ago:

And here’s an update from last spring:

And here’s the new report:

You have to be careful not to use Sandvine’s data usage tallies as a summary of actual usage. This doesn’t tell us how many movies and TV shows Netflix and Amazon users streamed, or how much time they spent using the streaming services.

But for right now, it’s the only data set we have. And in the past, Netflix executives have been happy to cite Sandvine’s numbers.

So a cautious interpretation of Sandvine’s new data is that Amazon’s customers — people who pay to stream movies and TV shows, and people who get video for free with their Prime accounts — are watching more than they have in the past.

We don’t know why that’s the case: Do people like Amazon’s new original programs, like “Transparent?” Or the old HBO shows it has started showing? Or has Amazon simply signed up a bunch of Prime subscribers?

But if you’re an Amazon executive, you’ll still count the new numbers as a win. And if you work at Netflix, you’ll take them as another reminder to take Amazon’s video ambitions very seriously.

This article originally appeared on

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