Netflix Tracks What Is Popular on Piracy Sites to Determine What Films and Shows to Purchase

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bill-swift - September 19, 2013

Did you ever wonder why certain movies and television shows get on Netflix and not others?

Well, as it turns out, they like to monitor what's most popular on piracy sites. Then, after they eliminate the 7,000 porn titles at the top of the list, execs at Netflix choose the mainstream films and TV shows that get torrented the most.

And no, this is not speculation. This comes straight from the mouth of Kelly Merryman, Netflix's VP of content acquisition.

Merryman did an interview with Dutch news website Tweakers last week for the launch of Netflix Netherlands. Here's what he had to say, courtesy of some Dutch-speakers at the BBC:

With the purchase of series, we look at what does well on piracy sites. Prison Break is exceptionally popular on piracy sites. But there are many programs that we will not buy, such as The Voice. Such live programs are better suited for live TV.

But isn't buying the rights to the shows people are already getting for free just a waste of money? Not at all, says Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. He says people are willing to pay the low price for Netflix because it is much easier than using free BitTorrent sites. In Canada, for example, BitTorrent use has apparently dropped 50% since Netflix launched back in 2010.

So download carefully, all you video pirates. Every choice you make influences what Netflix will stream. It's basically like you're voting, only the results actually make a difference in people's every day lives.

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