Netflix and YouTube have agreed to scale down their broadcast quality in a bid to prevent the Internet slowing under the weight of additional requests during the Coronavirus crisis.

Woman watching vod content on tablet
Netflix and YouTube have agreed to scale down their broadcast quality

It follows a discussion between Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and the European Union’s Internal Market and Services Commissioner, Thierry Breton.

YouTube has also agreed to scale down its video in Europe from high definition to standard definition.

M Breton had earlier called on streaming companies to take action to prevent the Internet grinding to a halt.
In a statement, M Breton said, “I welcome the very prompt action that Netflix has taken to preserve the smooth functioning of the internet during the COVID19 crisis while maintaining a good experience for users. Mr Hastings has demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility and solidarity. We’ll keep closely in touch to follow the evolution of the situation together.”

“Following the discussions between commissioner Breton and Reed Hastings – and given the extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus – Netflix has decided to begin reducing bit rates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days,” the company said in response.

“We estimate this will reduce Netflix traffic on European networks by around 25 per cent while also ensuring a good quality service for our members.”

The Commission wants streaming platforms to move to standard definition rather than high definition for their content during peak working hours.

Subscribers who pay Netflix a premium for both its high definition and ultra high definition services may not be quite as happy with the decision.

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