Disney and Facebook are on the path to join Netflix, Amazon, Apple and YouTube and reduce the streaming quality of their videos. This comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is forcing people to stay at home. This means most people are working and studying from home, apart from streaming more than usual.
All the services are reducing their bitrates in order to lighten the load on the internet in Europe. Apart from this, Disney will also delay the release of Disney+ in France after a government request for the same.
All the companies have committed to this task in Europe to fend off a possible internet gridlock in the country. Moreover, the move will be enforced as long as there are possibilities of gridlock in Europe, as millions of people work from home during these trying times.
EU industry chief Thierry Breton had urged streaming platforms to free bandwidths to make way for healthcare facilities and distance learning for thousands of children who have been sent home after all schools closed down. Although, till now, European telecoms have been able to cope with the data traffic rise, fears are still strife over possible network congestions as more and more people are forced to work from home.
Cutting down on bitrate speeds have resulted in low resolution streaming and heavily-compressed content in the region.
Disney is set to lower overall bandwidth utilization by at least 25% in all the markets which will launch Disney+. These include the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland. Moreover, Facebook has already capped bit rates for videos on Facebook and Instagram. Other streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, and YouTube have also decided to reduce video playback streams in a bid to lessen broadband strain.
Governments and businesses are trying hard all over the world to put measures into place so that people stay at home. This has caused people to use apps such as Zoom to conduct business through video conferencing and free streaming sites such as Pluto TV have seen a sharp increase in usage as well.
In such a scenario, bandwidth availability has become a cause for international concern as more and more people are forced to stay indoors in order to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. Nielsen is estimating that people staying at home can cause an increase of 60% in the amount of content people can watch. However, the numbers can increase as well, depending on the reasons.