After a slow start on Friday and Saturday, Sunday was the day that the Olympics streaming became a force to be reckoned with.

1. In the US, several networks peaked as high as 34% of overall bandwidth and increased in volume by over 100% over the initial two days of events. Many reports detailed how people were watching one event on TV and streaming other events on PCs and tablets. Since we did not see a huge rise in the percentage of subscribers participating in the streaming events, this translates into longer streaming sessions and more sessions for each subscriber. With the NBC delaying some of the more high profile events until primetime (, streaming during these events will continue to be popular. With the results available on Twitter (the news source of choice for most high tech consumers today), Olympics viewers risk knowing the results before the broadcast, and want to see the events live.

2. In the UK, BBC iPlayer, after a slow start over the weekend, hit full stride during the GB Olympic football team match. Streaming was up over 100% over normal Sunday levels, across all platforms (IOS, Android, PC, Mac), with the Olympic streaming specifically accounting for half the traffic (which conveniently accounts for the difference from normal traffic!). The IOS platform was the most popular platform, with a 10x usage lead over Android, heavily leveraging the latest iPad platform. Since the subscribers being monitored on this mobile network are native GB residents, it is likely that this pattern will continue throughout the games during events of great interest to the British fans. This has been confirmed by BBC themselves (, claiming that Sunday was a record day for iPlayer.

3. Netflix streaming was unchanged from normal in Canada, but was down 25% in the US on Sunday from normal levels on some networks. This matches expectations, as the US is much more involved in the Olympics than Canada, and with the peak levels that we mentioned earlier for Olympics streaming, something had to give, and in this case it was Netflix. Netflix even blamed the Olympics for anticipated slower growth this quarter ( (Note: This is what was observed on Procera’s network deployments around North America).

4. Studying the usage patterns of different devices on the mobile networks, the iPhone 4 reigns as the king of usage. The average iPhone 4 user consumed more than 2x the bandwidth of an iPhone 4s user, and 3x the bandwidth of the leading Android phones (Samsung Galaxy models). The bandwidth consumption is shown in Figure 1a to the right. These numbers should change during the week as mobile devices become a primary source of Olympic updates.

Image 1a: Top Mobile Phone Model Comparision