Can Netflix Survive Covid_19
Youtube, Netflix, Amazon and other providers are “trying to save the internet” Reducing Quality of Videos
It is laughable at best that the WEF (World Economic Forum) is suggesting that the big streaming providers are “trying to save the internet” by saving bandwidth but it couldn’t be further from the truth. If they are really so worried then perhaps shutting down temporarily would be even better for the internet. The situation doesn’t ring true because the “internet is not becoming slow” otherwise we would notice connectivity to everywhere would be slow and lagged. I have noticed Netflix getting slower but no decrease in bandwidth or extra congested routes to other internet services. If these services were “going to destroy the internet” we would find that connectivity to everywhere would be slower with less throughput and more lag (higher ping). This is simply not the case, although it is true that they use a lot of bandwidth, their primary reason for reducing their own bandwidth is simply an attempt to save their own bottom lines. The problem with unlimited video subscription service models like Netflix is that “you can watch all you want” for a single fee. This means that essentially “the more you watch, the more it costs Netflix” and “the more you watch, the less they make”. It is in their best “business interest” to preserve their bottom lines by reducing bandwidth and the easiest way to reduce costs by 25% is to reduce the quality of the video, thus reducing the amount of bandwidth or data transferred. There’s no interest in their actions except that reducing bandwidth and quality saves them money.
With Covid-19 taking a hold of every country on the planet, more people are either on lockdown, self quarantining or remaining home in an effort to stop the spread of the infectious disease. It’s riddled stock markets, corporations, small businesses to families and it hasn’t shown any sign of stopping-yet. With everybody staying home, Netflix, Youtube and other streaming online providers are making tons of money. But it’s also going to cost tons of money.
With new subscriptions each day, Netflix has to make a clear decision 1.to take on the upfront cost of the new subscribers by purchasing more and new equipment to handle the new load, with no guarantee these new customers will remain customers. 2. Reduce the quality of the videos and throttle the service.
If you picked 1, you’re not thinking business. It’s 2. They’re doing choice 2.
Netflix and Youtube have announced early this week they are purposely degrading the quality of the videos streaming, simply to handle the load and not collapse. Most people are looking at how much money Netflix and Youtube will be making, as will other streaming services, but what most people don’t understand is that they would have to purchase more equipment to handle that new load of customers- and run the risk of these customers happily cancelling as soon as lockdown is done. It’s a big risk and a risk that could tank their whole business plan. It was no surprise to me. We saw for Techrich, a strong new intake of ordinary non-business customers looking for a public cloud- simply to put their pictures and important documents should they need it, or lose power. We do not usually get normal people using public clouds for just their pictures, but I suppose we’re more trust worthy than the alternatives out there.
Going back to Netflix, it’s no surprise, it was bound to happen with so many stuck at home and watching all day and streaming all day. And with all the new sign ups at Netflix especially, they have to make a crucial business choice. Do they buy more equipment to handle the new number of customers, who may or may not stay after the lockdown is done? Or do they lower the quality of video instead of investing in servers? Right now, it’s the sound choice, to just degrade the quality of the video. But as more and more countries join the #stayhome club, it’s going to only get harder with just lowering the quality. Eventually, they will have to throttle certain videos, mainly for youtube. Netflix says they have lowered the quality so far for only European customers, but we have seen that our Netflix here has ‘skips’ every now and then, and it asks after every episode if we’re still watching. Most likely because our usage here in Canada has increased greatly. UPDATE: It’s happening in Canada now too.
ISP Throttling To Come?
My concern isn’t so much youtube and Netflix. Although I do worry that Youtube will use this crisis as an excuse to purposely throttle the videos of ‘undesirable videos and youtubers’. But with the sheer number of people online all day, I wonder if ISP’s will start throttling certain websites. We know that Ajit Pai’s been looking forward to this for a long time in the US, but the concern also remains for here in Canada. Could they potentially throttle sites that aren’t news or information sites they choose?
The Concern Of 5G
My concern over 5G rolling out quietly behind the scenes hasn’t gone away during this covid-19 crisis. Infact, I worry this might be the catalyst to push this untested tech into our community under the guise of ‘healthcare tech needs to be faster’. Don’t get me wrong, I do like what 5G offers, I just don’t like the very real and serious consequences of it. Increasing radiation, isn’t always a good thing, especially when a bunch of scientists – like 188 of them say HOLD ON HERE. We do not need to faster internet at the home level, but perhaps the business level, govt and healthcare level. But those towers of 5G radiation cake is going to be everywhere, slowly dosing us with increased amounts that we do not understand enough about. The impacts to human health and environment are serious and if this pandemic has proven anything, we need to take care of our planet and ourselves better. I wrote more about the health of 5G here.
I like watching Netflix every now and then. I realized that people are getting lazy and useless watching TV all day. I also made the decision for my children to stop as well. It’s addictive. All those shows and programs, shiny and entertaining, teaching you nothing of value, earning you nothing, giving you nothing but temporary joy isn’t what you need right now. This is time that we have been given during a really bad time. I decided on day 1 of staying home, I was going to put in more time to my students who are worth my time not a “Friends” binge. Also I to give more of my time to my kids- who I have right now making a presentation to pitch a business idea to me. I’ll post a few pictures of their business idea’s on Linkedin and Twitter.
But binge watching Youtube and Netflix all day isn’t healthy. It’s a pandemic in it’s own right. It’s taking our brain cells and numbing it. So lets help Netflix and Youtube out a little by lowering the quality of time we give them. We need to invest less time in making them money, and more time investing in making ourselves money. Remember the hustle doesn’t stop with covid-19. Use this time to lay the ground for that business idea you always wanted to do. Or a blog you wanted to start? Or book you always wanted to write? Time is precious. Do you really want to spend it on Netflix?
A small note. Please practice social distancing, better yet, just stay home. Avoid going out or doing anything in public that could put others at risk. It’s hard to stay home 24/7, but right now there are a team of people putting themselves at risk at the front lines, from my Doctors and Nurses, to Cashiers and Janitors, to people in transport to our border guards. We need to do what is right for not just ourselves but for them. So stay your butt home.