Slingshot data shows Kiwis turning away from illegal downloads in favour of paid streams

Kiwis are now choosing to pay to stream TV and videos instead of turning to BitTorent for pirated content and online shoppers are looking to China for their precious goods, according to recent data-gathering by Slingshot.

The internet provider discovered New Zealand’s browsing habits over the past 12 months by analysing statistics from the CallPlus network, the infrastructure that internet brands Slingshot, Orcon and Flip run through, and which represents 15 percent of New Zealand’s telco market.

One of the most interesting trends, according to Slingshot general manager Taryn Hamilton, is that the increase in paid streaming directly corresponds with the decrease in peer-to-peer file sharing, through sources such as BitTorrent. 

He puts the increase down to the fact that streaming sites are becoming more accessible.

“Sometimes you click on international sites like Hulu and it just won’t work, but now that there’s Global Mode, they can subscribe and pay for the service if they want to and they obviously have, as traffic volumes have gone through the roof, so clearly there’s demand for that,” says Hamilton.

“Our statistics show that BitTorent traffic is dropping at the same rate that paid streaming is increasing, which gives an indication that people are trading piracy for paid streaming. That’s great news because one of the main reasons we opened up Global Mode last year was to give New Zealanders access to the same content people overseas had.”

Another trend Hamilton noticed was an increase of New Zealanders shopping on overseas sites. More particularly, Chinese sites such as aliexpress, dx.com and dhgate.com. Aliexpress made the top 25 most popular websites list, along with list-toppers Google, Youtube, Facebook and Trade Me.

Hamilton puts this down to the free international shipping and affordability.

“Aliexpress is becoming one of the biggest. We are seeing it rocking up the charts in terms of popularity. Whereas going back not too far it was non-existent. They [consumers]can purchase cheaper products from a wider selection of goods and ship to New Zealand cheaper than buying at a [local]retail store.”

Hamilton also shared a few of his predictions for this year, which would see arrival of 4K (the next step up from HD) streaming slowly gaining momentum and that an increase in streaming services will result in a much higher percentage of traffic served from within New Zealand due to local content delivery networks. He also predicts that unlimited data plans will be the default.

“Netflix will draw more mainstream attention to streaming services. Netflix is a mainstream mass-market brand in overseas markets and hopefully that’ll make streaming a mass-market product in New Zealand. There are still questions over the quality of the catalogue they’ll have here but with the Global Mode service you’ll be able to subscribe through New Zealand but still able to consume the US version of it.” 

He says the changing trends are reflected in Slingshot’s customers’ internet usage. Last year, the number of customers choosing an unlimited plan doubled, while data consumption per household increased by 40 percent and is certain to increase further this year.

“While unlimited customers are still a minority, they use a large portion of overall bandwidth. An average unlimited fibre user consumed eight times the bandwidth of an average copper data-cap customer.”

Hamilton says with customers’ increased data usage, it is important to look at this information so Slingshot can ensure its infrastructure will be capable of delivering more data. Because of this, its core network is rapidly expanding to incorporate the amount of unlimited customers on the network.

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