Netflix uses piracy stats to choose its programming

Senior executives from Netflix have explained their method for choosing which programs to license for the service: they buy the rights to the most-pirated shows in each territory, because that's where the demand is.

“With the purchase of series, we look at what does well on piracy sites,” Merryman told Tweakers.

One of the shows that Netflix acquired the rights to in the Netherlands is Prison Break, since it is heavily pirated locally. “Prison Break is exceptionally popular on piracy sites,” Merryman says.

In a separate interview Netflix CEO Reed Hastings adds that his company is aware of the many people who download content without permission via torrent sites. However, this is not exclusively a bad thing, as it also creates demand for the content Netflix is offering.

“Certainly there’s some torrenting that goes on, and that’s true around the world, but some of that just creates the demand,” Hastings says.

Netflix Uses Pirate Sites to Determine What Shows to Buy [Ernesto/TorrentFreak]

Notable Replies

  1. This is rather brilliant in it simplicity.

  2. Thank you! I've been trying to convince them to bring back the British comedies from the 70s and 80s.... Now, I just have to...

  3. How very un-Hollywood

  4. Yeah, that was... smart!

  5. Rindan says:

    What they need is an exceptionally large air conditioner. That way, they could freeze hell over. However, even that probably wouldn't work because HBO would point out that an AC, just being a heat pump, created hell on the other side of the air conditioner, and so hell really just moved and didn't freeze over. HBO then would take more fat wads of cable company cash.

    I'm an adult with a job. I can afford to pay for content, and I want to support the stuff I like, so I am generally happy to do it. I just follow a simple rule. If I can buy something within 5 minutes, I will. If I can't I am an unabashed pirate. Thankfully, companies are slowly waking up to the fact that people like me are pretty normal consumers. In the US, I almost never pirate except for Game of Thrones. I wonder how many more years it will take before entertainment companies pull their head out of their asses and realize that things work much the same across the pond. Europe's piracy rates are so high because that is oftentimes the only way to get digital content on demand.

Continue the discussion

38 more replies