Internet piracy helps Netflix choose shows…

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Netflix mail
Although you can order Netflix in the mail, many people just stream it directly from their video game console, internet, or Blu-ray player these days.

It looks like movie and TV piracy might be good for something! Huh? How can illegally downloading content be helpful to anyone but the person getting some free TV streamed on their laptop? Well, piracy helps Netflix find the perfect shows to distribute to its users!

Yep, according to a company executive, Netflix checks out different illegal downloading websites to see what’s popular among viewers in that particular country. “When purchasing a series, we look at what does well on piracy sites,” said Kelly Merryman, Netflix Vice President of content acquisition. Okay, this may sound a little odd, but streaming the most illegally downloaded TV shows on Netflix not only brings in more subscribers, it also lowers piracy!

Pretty much, Netflix sees a connection between giving people easy access to their favorite shows and movies for a few measly bucks, and less motivation for sailing the web to download them illegally. Plus, it’s difficult to enjoy your favorite TV show or movie when your computer is doing some crazy whirring courtesy of a sketchy downloaded virus. Is it any coincidence, then, that Canada’s BitTorrent usage dropped 50% following the launch of Netflix in the country? I think not!

Okay, now obviously Netflix is a business and not some internet crime-fighter, so how does researching piracy lead to more cash? Well, not every country loves the same shows, so by targeting consumer demand, they’ll buy up the Netflix supply! For instance, Netflix launched its services in the Netherlands just last week and specifically advertised the country’s most illegally downloaded show, Prison Break. Ironic, isn’t it, that the most illegally downloaded show is called Prison Break. Anyhow, Netflix is confident that this marketing strategy will bring the masses pouring in to get their Prison Break fix, rather than waiting hours for a download to finish.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explained the growing popular of legitimate movie streaming in an interview with Tweakers – Netherland’s technology website, “Netflix is so much easier than [using BitTorrent]. You don’t have to deal with files, you don’t have to download them and move them around. You just click and watch.”

At 10 bucks a month, it’s hard to turn down Netflix’s offer. Not only do I get to marathon my favorite TV shows without any pesky commercials, but I don’t have to worry about my laptop slowing down from a virus!

Featured image courtesy of Sharday on Flickr. Image of Netflix mail courtesy of Netflix Facebook