Streaming Quality Downgrade Continues to Handle Surging Internet Traffic

It’s not just the general public, the health workers, and the Governments the world over that are struggling to adapt to the challenging times brought by the Coronavirus but also media giants.

Social distancing, staying indoors, and working from home have pushed the demand for internet services and made people look for online sources of entertainment.

With the unparalleled surge in demand for internet and internet-based services and the resultant pressure from the authorities, mainly in the EU, media companies are finding it difficult to maintain the same streaming quality as they provided earlier.

As a result, major platforms like Facebook, Netflix, Disney+, and others, in Europe have reduced video bitrates, or have defaulted to lower qualities to accommodate for the deluge in demand. 

This reduction in video quality is a step to handle the increased usage.

The Top Traffic Generators

According to Sandvine, a network analysis firm, Inc., Netflix Inc., Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., and YouTube, use more than 43% of the entire internet traffic volume.

As a result, it is expected that online traffic congestions will increase disrupting more important usage of the internet. 

To prevent such a situation, each of these companies has committed itself to take the necessary steps to mitigate the effect of increased traffic in the new world environment.


Last week, the company announced that it would reduce its streaming quality in the EU. But, it is now confirmed that this reduction will be rolled out globally for a month.

YouTube videos will now load with the default standard definition (480p) quality. Users can opt to manually select a higher quality setting per video, but the first loading will not be at the high-res standard. The policy is an extension of what is currently in practice in the EU, where regulators have demanded a reduction in bandwidth usage.


Efforts are underway by the e-commerce behemoth to reduce video quality in the EU to ease network strain.

Facebook and Instagram

The social networking company confirmed its effort to cut down streaming quality in the EU. Though a temporary change, the step aims to reduce any unnecessary bandwidth stress.

Do Users Need to Worry?


In the times of social distancing, you can enjoy online mingling and indulge in entertainment while keeping yourself safe in the confines of your home.

Though these service providers have reduced the streaming quality, the reduction will in no way adversely affect user experience to hamper online gathering or entertainment.

A Tip for Advertisers and Marketers

For advertisers and marketers who serve high-quality video ads, it would be advisable to pay attention to the ad performance during the next few weeks.

It would also be a good idea to look for an alternative scenario for marketing in case this reduction has an unexpectedly adverse impact on ad performance.



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