Live streaming in Italy: a growing industry

As Italy’s leading internet exchange point, we have noticed a significant increase in live streaming traffic over the past few years. This trend is a reflection of the growing popularity of live streaming as a means of entertainment and communication, among other things.

Where is the increase coming from?

There are several reasons why live streaming is gaining momentum in Italy. Firstly, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital technologies and changed the way people consume content. With many people stuck at home during lockdowns, live streaming provided a way for them to stay connected with the outside world and entertain themselves, and the habit stuck.

Secondly, the availability of high-speed internet has made it easier for people to watch and stream live content without buffering or lag. Italy has invested heavily in broadband infrastructure, with the government’s “Digital Italy” plan aiming to provide high-speed internet to all citizens by 2026. This investment has laid the foundation for the growth of live streaming in the country.

Thirdly, the rise of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitch has made it easier for content creators to reach a wider audience through live streaming. These platforms have integrated live streaming capabilities, making it easier for anyone with a smartphone to broadcast live.

Why does it matter?

The growth of live streaming in Italy is having a significant impact on the country’s internet ecosystem and digital infrastructure. For one, it is increasing the demand for high-speed internet, which means that internet service providers (ISPs) and IXPs must continue to invest in their networks to keep up with the growing demand. This investment will help to ensure that Italy’s digital infrastructure remains robust and reliable. 

Moreover, the rise of live streaming is creating new opportunities for content creators, media companies, and advertisers. As more people tune into live streams, there will be an increased demand for high-quality content that engages and entertains audiences. This, in turn, will drive innovation in content creation and distribution, creating new jobs and business opportunities in the digital economy.

What graphs from the MIX network can tell us about Italian streaming habits.

Ever heard of a little football competition called the Serie A championship? Italy’s biggest football league was broadcast, for the first time ever, exclusively online in 2022. Much like the rest of the world, Italy finds itself in a changing era, as we move away from satellite-based live content distribution towards an internet streaming model. This digital transformation is set to have huge ramifications on the way the country’s internet ecosystem operates. Here are some key impacts we’ve seen across the MIX network because of these changes.

March 2022-2023 

You can see a dip in traffic starting from June, and lasting until the early days in September. As workers across the country take time off to enjoy summer vacations, we experience an expected dip in enterprise traffic, with fewer video conferences, less file sharing, and reduced overall business operations. Usage remains consistent however, presumably from more school children at home online gaming and using streaming services such as Netflix and Disney +.

The impact of young people’s viewing habits is also noticeable when you look at traffic on a day-by-day basis. Take the below graph for example, which shows 24 hours of traffic mid week. After an afternoon lull, traffic rises at around 3pm, when school children arrive home. Perhaps they’re streaming educational content to help with homework (though parents know, it’s more likely some post-school Netflix). Daily traffic peaks at around 9pm, when chores are finished and food has been eaten, and many people across the country settle down to stream shows, call friends and family, or watch live content on social channels.

Let’s go back to our yearly graphic. You can see a traffic peak in late May during the Serie A final, where millions of people across the country tuned in. Though DAZN didn’t release their 2022 figures, the competition’s Milan derby in 2021 broke their record viewing figures, as 2.2 million people tuned in to watch Inter Milan beat rivals AC Milan 3-0. 

Speaking of the Milan derby, when the two teams clashed on 5 February 2023, the traffic spike was over 2 Tbs, here’s our Network Engineer Simone celebrating over on LinkedIn…

Some final thoughts

Live streaming is a growing industry in Italy that is changing the way people consume and create content. As an IXP, we are excited to be a part of this trend and to help support the growth of Italy’s digital ecosystem. By providing reliable and efficient internet infrastructure, we are playing a critical role in enabling the continued growth of live streaming and the broader digital economy in Italy. If you’d like more information on MIX, what we do, and how you can work with us, you can get in touch here.