Prior to acquiring new content, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) factors in a show’s popularity on piracy sites. Netflix discussed this policy during a recent interview and explained how the purchase of “Prison Break” was, in part, due to its popularity on piracy sites.
Netflix, which features more than 36 million users worldwide, just launched in the Netherlands and Kelly Merryman, vice President of content acquisition at Netflix, sat down for an interview with Tweakers, a popular Dutch tech website, to discuss some of the policies involved in choosing content for the popular video streaming service. Merryman said the company does not purchase live reality programming, such as “The Voice” or “The X Factor,” sporting events or concerts despite their popularity and big ratings. Such live programs are better suited for live TV,” said Merryman to Tweakers.
Instead of focusing on rating, Merryman said Netflix will weigh several factors prior to purchasing a new series, including activity on piracy sites such as The Pirate Bay or Kickass Torrents. Merryman said the decision to purchase the “Prison Break” series is one such example as the show “is exceptionally popular on piracy sites.”
There are exceptions as some shows are incredibly popular, racking up millions of torrent downloads, on these file-sharing sites have exclusive distribution deals. “Game of Thrones” and “True Blood” are popular HBO shows, with the former being the most pirated show of the year, but the network has its own streaming service in the form of HBO Go.
TorrentFreak notes Netflix believes it can convert piracy site users to try the streaming service, as Netflix provides an easy, and legal, experience. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, in an earlier interview with Tweakers, “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.” Earlier in the year, Netflix said there was evidence BitTorrent traffic decreased as the streaming service became available in new markets.