The consumer appetite for digital video may bring the Internet to its knees, if the viewership of video streaming continues at its current pace, says Irwin Gotlieb, chairman of global media investment company Group M, in an interview with Beet.TV.

That’s because the Internet wasn’t designed to handle video delivery as efficiently as standard cable protocol, he tells us as he shares his predictions for how video delivery will change over the next ten years.

Gotlieb emphasizes that Group M is device neutral and doesn’t care whether consumers watch TV or ads via over-the-air, cable, satellite, computers or tablets. However, as digital consumption increases, the infrastructure of the Web will have a hard time keeping up. As a case in point, Netflix’s service was famously down on Christmas Eve, and users often encounter buffering at other times. Netflix comprises about 25% of North American Web traffic.The problem is, the Internet wasn’t built to handle so many video packets being sent at once, Gotlieb says.

Within ten years, he expects solutions will be in place and bandwidth will be plentiful, but expect some pain in the near term as vested parties try to figure out solutions for data and video delivery. “If demand for that kind of consumption grows, the viewing experience on the consumer side will degrade,” he says. “That impacts decisions made by the Comcasts, the  Time Warners, the costs of the service.  One day you may not get [all-the-data-you-can-eat plans]…We have an evolution that needs to be managed with care.”

Daisy Whitney