Streaming has taken over the internet and now accounts for more than 70 per cent of North American downloads at peak times, up from less than 35 per cent in 2010, according a report from broadband services company Sandvine.
Netflix makes up a huge part of internet downloads, the company said, with the streaming service accounting for 37.1 per cent of all downstream traffic in North America during September and October.
YouTube accounted for the second-largest share of download traffic, at 17.9 per cent, followed by regular internet browsing at 6.1 per cent.
As streaming sites have risen in popularity, the BitTorrent file-sharing service — which some blame for the proliferation of pirated content online — has declined in its share of overall Internet traffic.
BitTorrent still accounts for more than a quarter of upload traffic, which is substantially lower than download traffic, in part because of its peer-to-peer design that sees users share parts of files with each other.
Yet the file-sharing service now accounts for less than five per cent of total internet traffic, down from 31 per cent in 2008.