What are the server’s costs for Peloton video streaming?

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Have you ever heard about Peloton? It is a fitness equipment and media company from New York. They created their stationary bicycle and treadmill, which users buy to install at their homes. Then customers use monthly subscriptions to participate in live video fitness classes.

Peloton is super popular, and they even got a shortage of equipment. 

The main idea of Peloton is that you jump on your bike or treadmill whenever you want, right at your home, then you select live or pre-recorded fitness class and do your workout. 

While running or spinning the wheels,your attention is on a screen that goes with the device, professional fitness coaches run the show, so you feel highly engaged.

Pandemic became an accelerator for Peloton and the company shows outstanding financial results, they double their revenue 4 years in a row!

Statista

In this article, I will explain how the Peloton video streaming system works and what infrastructure costs does Peloton spend.

When you select a workout in Peloton, you have two options. To watch a prerecorded class or participate in the live event. In both options, Peloton delivers video via HLS or MPEG-DASH, through the popular content delivery network CDN’s. It is the same way like Netflix or Twitch deliver video.

In one of the Peloton job descriptions, Akamai, Cloudfront, and Cloudflare were mentioned. Meaning they have a real-time video delay somewhere around from 5 to 20 seconds.

Back in April 2020, Peloton set a record and attracted 23.000 users to one live class. This is a huge number for a single fitness class, but from a technology perspective, that’s not a that big a problem. Especially if you compare that to millions of simultaneous viewers on Netflix.

Calculating the costs

Peloton says they have 4.4 million members as of 7 March 2021. They run 48 live classes each day. And in 2019 they had 55 million workouts in total.

Based on the Revenue chart shown above we make an assumption that in 2020 they had doubled the number of workouts, i.e. 110 million workouts in 2020.

Now, based on Quora’s insights, the average workout time in Peloton is 35 minutes.

The video quality is not the highest one, and some users complained on Reddit, but I think when you spin the wheels on a high pulse, you don’t really care. So let’s take 720p and 3Mbits video bitrate to make calculations.

So, 110 million workouts multiply by 35 average workout minutes, divide by 60 minutes and we get 64,1 million workout hours for 2020.

3 Mbits equals 1.3 GB of data per hour. Then we multiply 64,1 million workout hours by 1.3 GB of data = 78.9 PB (PetaBytes) of data per year. Or 6.58 PB of streaming data per month.

6.58 PB is a lot of data, but not so big as in comparison to Twitch (2019) 1256 PB of streaming data per month.

And we have updated information about CDN pricing for big players. Looks like big companies paid around $0.0006 per GB of transferred data in 2020. But I wouldn’t say that 6.5 PB per month is huge enough to get such a low price. I think $0.005 per GB is closer to reality.

6.58 PB multiplied by $0.005 = $34.4K per month is the Peloton video data traffic streaming costs.

I hope this short analysis revealed some interesting insights into how the Peloton works. Stay safe, stay Fit!

In case you need help developing a video streaming application let me know: sz@trembit.com

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