Netflix's VP of content acquisition Kelly Merryman has revealed that Netflix uses piracy stats to find out which movie and shows to license for its subscribers.
In a candid interview with the Netherlands based Tweaker website, Merryman revealed that piracy stats are used to determine the popularity of the content, and this then drives the decision whether to go ahead with licensing the show.
"With the purchase of series, we look at what does well on piracy sites," said Merryman, according to a translation of the Tweakers interview.
For the recent launch of the Netherland version of Netflix, Merryman said that the company looked at piracy stats and found that the US show Prison Break was surprisingly popular in the country. This led to the decision to make the show available for its Dutch subscribers, Merryman explained.
Netflix's curious relationship with piracy is not new. Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos revealed back in May that Netflix's introduction into a region is helping to reduce traffic associated with piracy.
The same point was affirmed in a recent interview with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, in which Hastings pointed to a dramatic 50% decrease in piracy traffic in Canada shortly following Netflix's introduction in the country.
Hastings says that piracy is just another measure of demand, but Netflix is winning because it offers a better user experience.
"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," Hastings explains.