Streaming video can eat up monstrous amounts of bandwidth in a serious hurry: The Netflix website says that streaming at standard definition will consume about 700MB per hour per device, compared to up to 3GB per hour for HD streams, and 7GB per hour at Ultra HD.
Amazon is the third company that reduces the quality of its Prime Video streaming service in order to allow Europe to cope with the increased demand for internet data traffic.
On 18 March, European Commissioner for internal markets Thierry Breton revealed that he had been in contact with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to ask for the subscription video-on-demand service to end broadcasting content in high-definition and switch to the substantially less network intensive SD.More news: Britain's armed forces to distribute protective equipment to United Kingdom doctors
Meanwhile, Telecom Italia recorded a 75 percent increase in Italian data traffic over the weekend, with online games such as Fortnite and Call of Duty responsible for a significant proportion of the jump. It seems YouTube has taken heed to the request as the platform has limited streaming in European countries to standard-definition video by default, according to Variety.
"Following the meeting by Google's CEO, Sundar Pichai, YouTube's CEO, Susan Wojcicki, and [E.U.] Commissioner [Theirry] Breton, we are making a commitment to temporarily default all traffic in the European Union to Standard Definition", the spokesperson added. There are fears about the strain all of these individuals might have on the internet infrastructure.More news: Call of Duty Black Ops reboot rumoured for 2020
Google said its chief executive Sundar Pichai and YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki discussed how the technology giant could help further during the coronavirus pandemic with Mr Breton. "We will continue working with member state governments and network operators to minimize stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience".
The new measures by Netflix come as Nielsen estimates that people staying home due to the coronavirus outbreak "can lead to nearly a 60 percent increase in the amount of content we watch in some cases and potentially more depending on the reasons".
Netflix has for years now already been using "an adaptive streaming tool that automatically adjusts the quality of streaming video based on accessible bandwidth", explains The Verge.More news: Intel pulls out of Mobile World Congress because of coronavirus