With so many people now stuck at home, it was only a matter of time before internet traffic was going to peak and cause problems. In Europe, this has been the case with video streaming, whereby the sudden increase in people watching Netflix and other platforms is causing issues with networks across the region. To tackle this, Netflix have now announced they’ll be slowing their bit rates in European markets to take some of the pressure off the currently overworked network.
Speaking to The Verge, a Netflix spokesperson had this to say about their decision:
“Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days. We estimate that this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25 percent while also ensuring a good quality service for our members.”
What will this mean, though, for European Netflix subscribers? Well, the main impact is that picture quality when streaming might decrease a bit, but probably not enough to notice a difference. The cumulative effect of this change by Netflix will, however, make it easier for broadband and fibre networks to operate as more people stay at home and binge watch shows and movies.
The announcement comes at a time when Netflix are adding more titles to their library for April to keep subscribers happy as they catch up on their streaming backlog. In addition, the company is putting out their own lists of titles that viewers may want to binge while they wait out the lockdown. The side-effects of the coronavirus aren’t all positive for the streaming giant, though, as one analyst recently noted that people staying home may mean that cash flow is down, and perceived luxuries such as Netflix could be cut in place of essentials.
This assessment may be a bit harsh though, as others are predicting that Netflix and other streaming platforms will benefit from the number of people unable to go out to the cinema or to other public events. What might be worrying to Netflix, however, are the potential delays to its release schedules caused by safety measures on the sets of The Witcher and Stranger Things. Here’s hoping that things get back to normal soon, then, including streaming rates.