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Netflix uses video piracy statistics to decide show acquisitions

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.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. Laminar

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 04-28-07

    It's like Reddit +2 days.

  1. apostle

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-16-08

    I really don't understand how services like NetFlix can make any money when services like YouTube allow free unlimited downloads of full major movies. Just downloaded "Bicentennial Man" with Robin Williams today. No charge. No ads.

    How does YouTube make any money allowing complete downloads of major movies, ad free.

    How does YouTube pay for all of the content they are giving away for free?

    ?

  1. Laminar

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 04-28-07

    How many ads does Netflix show you? Who decides what content is available on Netflix?

  1. shifuimam

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 08-15-06

    I love Netflix, but some of the arbitrary restrictions on it are kind of annoying - like how Netflix gets stuff AFTER other streaming services. Some of the shows we watch still haven't gotten current or even previous season episodes, which makes me way more likely to pirate that content.

    Also a LOT of popular movies aren't on there, and other ones - like Chinatown - randomly disappear.

  1. apostle

    Junior Member

    Joined: 04-16-08

    I think of YouTube as Broadcast TV. The content you wish to watch is not available 24/7. But is always free of charge and available for free download when broadcast.

    NetFlix is good when you want to watch something specific. As are many such similar services. You are able to receive instant gratification. In olden times we called that "going to the movies" :) But does Netflix allow you to download your content for free so you can watch it whenever you want, free?

    Like YouTube does?

    I come from a time of Broadcast TV and recording shows to my VCR when desired content was broadcast. So am willing to wait until YouTube offers such content.

    Not dismissing you. Just offering a different point of view...

    =0)

  1. Laminar

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 04-28-07

    Originally Posted by apostleView Post

    I think of YouTube as Broadcast TV. The content you wish to watch is not available 24/7. But is always free of charge and available for free download when broadcast.



    ??? Your analogy falls apart, like, right away. YouTube's content is available 24/7.

    But does Netflix allow you to download your content for free so you can watch it whenever you want, free?

    Like YouTube does?


    YouTube doesn't allow you to download videos. Third parties enable that ability.

    I come from a time of Broadcast TV and recording shows to my VCR when desired content was broadcast.

    You come from a time that was 14 years ago? What was it like??? Sounds scary!!

  1. climacs

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 09-06-01

    I don't yet own an Apple TV so I watch Netflix on my Panasonic HDTV. There is a completely ridiculous disabling of the audio output when watching certain shows such as popular AMC series (WD, SOA, BB) so that I am forced to listen using the crappy speakers built in to the TV rather than my kick-ass stereo system. What a terrible idea. I am assuming there's no such restriction with Netflix on AppleTV!

  1. Laminar

    Posting Junkie

    Joined: 04-28-07

    Why don't you just watch the episodes that you recorded on your VHS tapes?

  1. Rapscallion

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 03-12-04

    Is this really news? They found a reliable source of which shows real people actually want to watch instead of the so called 'test groups' put forth by unreliable third party rating systems. Go figure. Way to accomplish something worth while Netflix!

  1. andi*pandi

    Moderator

    Joined: 06-19-00

    Originally Posted by LaminarView Post

    It's like Reddit +2 days.



    hey, I don't check reddit. ;)

  1. Grendelmon

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 12-26-07

    My biggest beef with Netflix is that they give you absolutely no warning when content will be dropped. That really pisses me off.

  1. rumplestiltskin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-19-10

    All Netflix has to do is keep track of the items they -don't- have for which people are searching RIGHT THERE ON THEIR SITE. There have been at least 2 dozen movies I've wanted to see (and most are a few years old or even older so there should be no "got to suck the DVD purchasers dry first" issue.

  1. shifuimam

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 08-15-06

    Originally Posted by rumplestiltskinView Post

    All Netflix has to do is keep track of the items they -don't- have for which people are searching RIGHT THERE ON THEIR SITE. There have been at least 2 dozen movies I've wanted to see (and most are a few years old or even older so there should be no "got to suck the DVD purchasers dry first" issue.



    My biggest complaint about this is that it's not really Netflix's fault - it's the damn film companies trying to maintain a chokehold on their property, to the harm of their own consumers.

    The only thing that the MPAA accomplishes by forcing a 30-day wait on movies on Netflix is to encourage piracy.

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