Netflix Uses Piracy As Market Research, Isn't Afraid Of It Because It Knows It Can Offer A Better Service
from the but-of-course dept
And, at the same time, the company isn't worried about the competition, because it knows (as people have been trying to explain to the legacy players for years), the best way to deal with infringement is to compete:
This week Netflix rolled out its service in the Netherlands and the company’s Vice President of Content Acquisition, Kelly Merryman, says that their offering is partly based on what shows do well on BitTorrent networks and other pirate sites.
“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.What's amazing, of course, is that the entertainment industry's strategy works against all of this. They focus on trying to crack down on infringement through legal efforts, driving much of this underground, and making it that much harder to understand what the market wants. At the same time, they try to squeeze more and more money out of the legitimate services by jacking up rates to unprofitable levels, making it more and more difficult to license the works. And when companies like Netflix can't license everything, that's when customers are less willing to pay.
“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.
Eventually these BitTorrent users may want to switch to Netflix as it’s a much better user experience than torrenting, according to the CEO.
“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,” Hastings says.
It's a strategy that makes the problem worse, while they keep insisting they need to do it to make the situation better.