One of the most difficult constant challenges for Netflix is gaining the rights to stream content. It needs to strike a balance between the often exceptional fees demanded by content providers, and making sure to have listings good enough to attract potential new customers to the relatively low-cost service.
Given that Netflix needs to restrict content it streams by region, the job is even more difficult, as is determining what content will be the best investment in each region.
That is where sources of online piracy offer a valuable, free service to the streaming giant; in order to figure out what to add to its listings in a particular region, Netflix checks the torrent (and other) sites to see what is the most pirated in that region.
"With the purchase of series, we look at what does well on piracy sites," Kelly Merryman, Vice President of Content Acquisition at Netflix, told Tweakers (Dutch).
Merryman said that Netflix added "Prison Break" to its service in the Netherlands because it is "exceptionally popular on piracy sites."
Given that a large part of Netflix' goal online is to convince would-be pirates that watching content is simply easier with Netflix, spying on piracy sites' stats is understandable, and is definitely cheaper than market research.
Written by: James Delahunty @ 17 Sep 2013 18:23