Pirate streams don’t just impact revenues. They waste bandwidth, too


Surely this has happened to you: You’re listening to Pandora, or streaming something, and suddenly you notice the absence of sound. You look at your screen, and see a prompt: Are you still listening/watching? It’s a clever method of bandwidth preservation, much more necessary in the world of IP (where connections are 1:1) than in the world of traditional broadcasts (where it’s one-to-many/all.) If you’re not watching, your stream gets “released,” and simultaneously stops consuming bandwidth.

According to Sandvine’s research, this “phantom bandwidth consumption” phenomenon is wasting 1.1 Terabytes of data per month. Bandwidth refresher: “Tera” comes after “Giga;” Giga comes after Mega; in each case, it’s an order-of-magnitude shift.

Turns out that pirate video streams have no such bandwidth preservation mechanism; no such “are you still watching?” prompt. It’s logical to presume that if the goal is to promulgate “free” content, being responsible about how much bandwidth it consumes probably isn’t on the development roadmaps of pirate streamers.

Why this matters: Piracy cuts two ways -- into revenues, and into broadband capacity.