updated 07:30 pm EDT, Sun September 15, 2013
Piracy figures triggered Prison Break purchase for Netflix in the Netherlands
Netflix monitors piracy sites for shows being downloaded, in order to decide what to acquire for its users. The video streaming service uses statistics relating to video piracy as a social barometer, along with other metrics, in working out what shows and films it doesn't currently offer that it needs to secure for members to view.
In an interview with Dutch site Tweakers for its launch in the Netherlands, Vice President of Content Acquisition Kelly Merryman gave the example of Prison Break being popular on torrents in the country, prompting it to acquire the show. It also takes into account other shows that are heavily watched on the service, as well as those generally avoided by users. Live programming such as The Voice and sporting events, as well as other time-critical content will not be making an appearance in the future.
Even if a show is popular in terms of piracy, exclusivity deals with broadcasters and other streaming services doesn't guarantee that it will appear on the service, with HBO's dealings with broadcaster RTL blocking it from showing the heavily-pirated Game of Thrones.