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Netflix: Global Licensing, Winning Against Piracy and 4K

Posted by: , 17:44 AEST, Sat May 4, 2013

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Netflix's Chief Content Officer talks about global licensing, winning the war against piracy and 4K content on Netflix
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An interview conducted by Stuff magazine with Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos has yielded some very interesting tidbits about the streaming service.

Sarandos confirmed what many had suspected, that whenever Netflix moves into a new territory, the piracy rate drops to reflect the changing behavior of users. "When we launch in a territory the Bittorrent traffic drops as the Netflix traffic grows," Sarandos explains.

The reason Sarandos says for the shift from free to paying legit is all about giving people what they want, and that, he says, is the best way to fight piracy. "The best way to combat piracy isn't legislatively or criminally but by giving good options," says Sarandos.

One issue still bugging users is the differences in content between the various Netflix territories, with the US viewers seemingly getting the best deal in terms of variety and timeliness. One workaround is to get a geo-unblocking service like Unblock-Us, which then lets you bypass region locks and choose which Netflix region you want access to. But Sarandos is working hard behind the scenes to ensure this will not be an issue in the, perhaps distant, future. 

"The window of time between US broadcast and international availability is a gap and a problem everywhere. My goal is to make licensing much more global so the service has more global availability. All our original stuff is available on all our international sites and we're moving more towards ubiquitous global licencing. It'll take years, unfortunately – but that's what we're steering towards," said Sarandos. 

And as for whether 4K will be coming to Netflix soon, Sarandos said that it was perhaps a bit too early to speculate on the next evolution of HD. With Blu-ray discs currently unable to carry 4K content without breaking compatibility, and the industry reluctant to introduce yet another physical format, could 4K become a streaming only format? 

"If it evolves as a streaming only format it’ll be very interesting," Sarandos hinted.


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