In an effort to decrease piracy, Netflix is actually looking to piracy websites for help on determining what the most-popular TV shows and movies are. According to Tweakers, Netflix’s Vice President of Content Acquisition, Kelly Merryman, says that the popularity of movies and TV shows on file-sharing platforms helps determine what content that Netflix buys the streaming rights to.
With Netflix just rolling out to the Netherlands (a country with a high piracy rate), Netflix’s goal was to get users in the country to switch from downloading content illegally to watching it on Netflix. By seeing what users were pirating the most, Netflix bought the streaming rights to Prison Break, for example, based on its high piracy popularity in the Netherlands.
Netflix is well aware that piracy is a prevalent thing, and there’s really no way to actually stop it 100%, but there’s at least things that the company can do to possibly decrease piracy rates a little bit, and that is to offer movies and shows that are in demand. CEO Reed Hastings says that “some of [the piracy] just creates the demand,” thus helping Netflix determine what’s popular and what isn’t.
Hastings also says that “Netflix is so much easier than torrenting. You don’t have to deal with files; you don’t have to download them and move them around. You just click and watch.” Even to the most advanced and experienced pirate, this is true. No matter how easy you may think piracy is, you always have to do things like find the torrent, download it, extract the files, etc., but with Netflix, it really is just “click and watch.”
Netflix has already claimed that they’ve seen piracy rates drop in countries for which they roll out service for, which isn’t too hard to believe, but unless Netflix offers every TV show and movie under the sun, piracy will always be in place, and licensing as much content as Netflix can is easier said than done. For example, Game of Thrones is also one of the most-pirated TV shows, but HBO is pretty stringent on what they license, and Netflix wasn’t able to get streaming rights for the show.
With that said, while we’d love for Netflix to offer up any show that we wanted, you have to give them credit for going after what the people want. The streaming service already has a handful of popular TV series, and it offers most of the shows that I’m interested in anyway, with a couple of shows missing, but the great thing about that is that I can go to another streaming service to find the shows that aren’t on Netflix.