Procter & Gamble nixes Pandora/Netflix at work citing bandwidth concerns

If you work at a big company, such as Procter & Gamble, you might work in a cubicle for several hours a day at the company's headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. You might even want to take a little time off from work to surf the net at work or listen to some music. However, it looks like lots of people at Procter & Gamble were doing the same thing, and for a lot longer than just a few minutes.

In an article on the Cincinnati Enquirer, a recently leaked memo said that the company was blocking their workers from accessing two popular Internet services; the movie and TV streaming video site Netflix and the music streaming service Pandora. The internal memo said that P&G workers were streaming and listening to a whopping 4,000 hours of music a day on Pandora.

The situation had become so bad that the amount of bandwidth that was being used for non-work activities was adversely affecting P&G's network, according to the memo. In fact, it stated that a quarter of the company’s bandwidth was being used for non-work purposes and that it would cost $15 million a year to add more bandwidth to keep up.

P&G has also cut off surfing the web for non-work related projects, according to the article. Facebook and YouTube access have not been cut off completely because the company uses both for marketing and other work purposes. However, the memo said that 50,000 YouTube videos were being viewed per day on the company's network before the new policies went into effect.

The situation at P&G is not a unique case. Other large companies in the Cincinnati area have put in similar policies. GE Aviation, which has 7,500 employees, has blocked access at work for Pandora, YouTube and Facebook, although some people who use those services for work can still ask for access.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Motorola Xoom gets updated to Android 4.0.4

Next Story

Stardock to release The Political Machine 2012 this summer

33 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I work for a company who allows FB and Twitter and YouTube access but BLOCKS anything in the Real Estate category and blocks eBay. WTH?

wtf, the fact they had allowed it this long is crazy. What company would allow that kind of site to be accessed and waste network resources? And I agree how the hell is this news, is this P&G's intranet site? Why do we care?

I've just done a check at work here, and sure enough we've blocked Spotify and Pandora. Oddly enough, Netflix is still allowed, although I guess it's because you can't do anything with it ("Netflix is not available in your country...yet.").

I can guarantee there aren't 100,000+ corporate employees all sitting in front of a computer.

That's just overall company size.

knighthawk said,
Why is this news?

It's interesting to me because I was recently told that I can't listen to Spotify at work even though employees of Facebook and Microsoft can. I find it interesting that employees of another big company might not be able to.

Callum said,

It's interesting to me because I was recently told that I can't listen to Spotify at work even though employees of Facebook and Microsoft can. I find it interesting that employees of another big company might not be able to.

Pretty standard.

Pandora I can understand, but Netflix? That's saying something about the work ethic of the employees lol.

CGar said,
Pandora I can understand, but Netflix? That's saying something about the work ethic of the employees lol.

Do you mean the other way around?

I've worked for large and small companies alike (50,000+ and ~20). I can understand Netflix, I get that. But music streaming services? From my experience, music can play as much as a positive impact to productivity as coffee.

pack34 said,
I've worked for large and small companies alike (50,000+ and ~20). I can understand Netflix, I get that. But music streaming services? From my experience, music can play as much as a positive impact to productivity as coffee.

Music helps keep me in a good mood and concentrate.

This has been an issue at times where I manage a car dealership. We have about 15 employees all surfing with a dedicated T1. It's already a slow internet connection and when somebody is streaming music it really drags the network and makes it slow for everybody else to simply navigate the web. I could only imagine that many employees. You can't blame them for doing it.

Regardless of the right and wrongs of having access to this at work, that is seriously expensive. I wonder how many employees they have at their HQ, how many are streaming and how many are streaming movies during work time rather than break time.

Until this Policy took effect, it must have been a hell of a place to work to be able to stream things all day. Now they will have to resort to Blu Rays and Piracy to conserve bandwidth.
These streaming servers could probably put in a peering point of presence within the P&G network for this much usage!

Yeah we block streaming over the corporate network at my work too, but we also have a separate wireless network for these kinds of things.

Every company that I have worked for in the last 10 years blocked these sites as well. Nothing unique about P&G.

How does one company introducing a web filter become "news" ? Most other companies in the world already limit internet access to "business use only" purposes, with the possible exception fo during lunch hours and break times. Not sure what's special here?

TCLN Ryster said,
How does one company introducing a web filter become "news" ? Most other companies in the world already limit internet access to "business use only" purposes, with the possible exception fo during lunch hours and break times. Not sure what's special here?

i guess cause they have 129,000 employees.. When these big companies do something many follow in their foot steps. thats all I can think of..

Lachlan said,
i guess cause they have 129,000 employees.. When these big companies do something many follow in their foot steps. thats all I can think of..

So because 500 (4000 / 8 hours a day) of their 129,000 employees are streaming Pandora a day... so assuming that all their employees are cheap and using the free streaming, they're using 32mbit (64kbps*500 people) for Pandora streaming bandwidth... Now, assuming that Pandora was a third amount of their "Non-work bandwidth", they spend $12,500/mbit (15million / 100mbit / 12 months) for bandwidth? WTF?

Crazy...

Poof said,

So because 500 (4000 / 8 hours a day) of their 129,000 employees are streaming Pandora a day... so assuming that all their employees are cheap and using the free streaming, they're using 32mbit (64kbps*500 people) for Pandora streaming bandwidth... Now, assuming that Pandora was a third amount of their "Non-work bandwidth", they spend $12,500/mbit (15million / 100mbit / 12 months) for bandwidth? WTF?

Crazy...

so your saying that pandora for streaming music which is a single service in the entire world that you could use for "non-work bandwidth" out of thousands of possibilities makes up 1/3rd of their streaming? that is a pretty huge assumption right there.. that is just one of the services they could put a number on but what about people watching netflix.. it would just take 1 guy watching netflix for less then an hour in HD to get 100mbits downloaded ..

or the 50,000 videos viewed a day? say its 10MB (depending on quality) per video that is 500GB of just youtube a day ... or 182.5 Terabytes a year just on silly videos..

15million / 182,500,000MB = 8 cents a megabyte.. just if it was for youtube videos.. and that does not include all the facebook, netflix and music downloads.

Lachlan said,
so your saying that pandora for streaming music which is a single service in the entire world that you could use for "non-work bandwidth" out of thousands of possibilities makes up 1/3rd of their streaming? that is a pretty huge assumption right there.. that is just one of the services they could put a number on but what about people watching netflix.. it would just take 1 guy watching netflix for less then an hour in HD to get 100mbits downloaded ..

Due to my not reading fully, I didn't see the YouTube numbers. However, even with 500GBs over a period of 12 hours (I'm assuming that they're not 24 hour facilities) that's only 92mbit of YouTube alone, 46.3mbit/s for 24 hour operation.

Thankfully bandwidth isn't billed by megabyte, it's figured either on 95th or 90th percentile. With this in mind lets figure that the employees are using 1000mbit/s on ONLY non-work related internet activities, think a high $4/mbit cost, that's only $48,000 a year in bandwidth fees.

Bandwidth doesn't cost a lot, and really, spending $48k a year on employee comfort isn't bad. Even if you want to extend it to 10,000mbit/s, it's way under the 1 million that they're quoting.

true.. yet i guess we have to wait till we own our own company and see how much money we wish to dish up for our employees to not work.. lol .. maybe this is just an excuse to cut the slackers off.