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.
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.
“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.”