P2P Traffic Expected to Grow 400% Over Next 5 Years

New study also claims that P2P traffic also consumes 44% of All Internet traffic.

Every so often we get a new study that makes new claims and predictions regarding P2P traffic. Add to the list a recent one by Multimedia Intelligence entitled “P2P Networking: Content’s “Bad Boy” Becomes Tomorrow’s Distribution Channel.” The study’s focus is on raising the awareness of the potential monetization of P2P as a digital distribution platform.

MultiMedia Intelligence bills itself as a “market research consultancy specializing in the markets and technologies that deliver and monetize digital media and services across multiple platforms” and which promises the computing industry’s “most advanced skills, insights, and expertise” to its customers.

According to its research, P2P traffic will grow almost 400% over the next 5 years, from a level of 1.6PB of Internet traffic per month in 2007 to almost 8PB per month by 2012.  

“P2P networking awareness grew from the illicit ‘sharing’ of music files, much to the chagrin of content holders,” according to Frank Dickson, MultiMedia Intelligence’s Chief Research Officer. “Despite prevailing perceptions of P2P as synonymous with content piracy, P2P is emerging as viable means of distributing legitimate content.”

Current P2P traffic consumes some 44.0% of all Internet traffic. The figure is 33.6% in North America. 

The study claims that although legal P2P traffic consumes a tiny share of the overall amount that it is expected to grow 10 times as fast as illegal P2P as content owners “increasingly see P2P as a cost effective way to distribute digital entertainment services and content.”

MultiMedia Intelligence’s new research also found:

  • P2P networking is dominated by music in terms of the number of files transferred.  However, in terms of bandwidth, growth of video is explosive. This growth is largely attributable to a transition to higher quality video and growing video demand in less developed markets. 
  • As the number legitimate P2P services grow, P2P is entering a second- generation evolution.  Such next generation P2P services leverage traffic steering or management and include P4P, P2P caching and hybrid solutions, such as CDN/pseudo CDN services with P2P.

I’d actually be surprised if the 44% figure isn’t actually much higher. The study does at the very least note how much of an impact P2P programs and services are having on the distribution of content on the Internet.

Piracy will always be a concern, but in an age where bandwidth is at a premium content providers will have to devise new ways to deliver products to their customers. This especially so as content goes increasingly digital and consumers want to make their purchases from the comfort of their own home.

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