Netflix wants to offer shows that viewers want to pirate

Jacob Siegal

Netflix Pirated Shows
Netflix Pirated Shows

If there’s a better way to find out what people want to watch than checking torrent sites, be sure to let Netflix know, because the popular TV and movie streaming service is doing exactly that in order to decide what to offer its users. In an interview with Tweakers coinciding with the recent launch of Netflix in the Netherlands, Netflix VP of Content Acquisition Kelly Merryman said that “[w]ith the purchase of series, we look at what it does well on piracy sites.” For example, Prison Break sees tons of illegal downloads and has now made its way on to Netflix Watch Instantly.

[More from BGR: Google’s next ‘moonshot’: Tearing down language barriers]

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings also talked about how he sees the streaming service as competition for stealing shows and movies. Netflix offers a simple, legal alternative to torrenting, albeit with a much smaller catalog of available content.

[More from BGR: Microsoft admits last week’s anti-iPhone ads were awful]

“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. “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.”

This article was originally published on

Related stories

Is Netflix suddenly a cable TV kingmaker?

How ISPs are making video streaming slower than it should be

Crazy like a fox — Netflix now bets on teen mermaids