BitTorrent activity drops in markets where Netflix is available

By on May 3, 2013, 3:30 PM
netflix, bittorrent, piracy, file sharing, downloads, arrested development, house of cards, torrents

The best way to combat piracy isn’t legislatively or criminally, but by coming up with an alternative that makes it easy to consume the content at a fair price. That according to Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who says that whenever the service launches in a new region, BitTorent traffic suffers a significant drop.

In a recent interview with Stuff.tv, Sarandos briefly touched on the topic of piracy, arguing that people do want a great  experience and if there’s a legal alternative available many of them will take this route. Even though he admits that global availability is still a problem due to licensing constraints, Sarandos says that’s a goal they’re steering towards, adding that “one of the side effects of growth of content is an expectation to have access to it. You can’t use the internet as a marketing vehicle and then not as a delivery vehicle.”

It’s not the first time we’ve heard someone from the content industry take an unprejudiced stance on the topic of piracy, but at the very least it’s encouraging to see it happen more often. After all, Netflix is not immune to piracy either. According to Variety, over 20,000 copies of Netflix-exclusive House of Cards have been shared on The Pirate Bay, but further driving the point, most downloads came from countries where Netflix isn’t available.

You can’t use the internet as a marketing vehicle and then not as a delivery vehicle.

We could turn to HBO for more proof of this as people have been long clamoring for a standalone version of their Go service -- all the while their Game of Thrones series consistently ends up among the top torrent downloads. That’s not likely to happen any time soon as the company has been clear it doesn’t want to upset their lucrative distribution deals with cable providers. But lately they’ve softened their stance on the matter, even suggesting that ‘eventually’ HBO Go could ‘maybe’ evolve as an additional service offered by ISPs.

Besides discussing piracy Sarandos shared some details of the soon to be revived Arrested Development series. Namely, that the new season was completely crafted for Netflix viewers who could watch a bunch of episodes in a row, as every episode intertwines with all the other ones and a complete throwaway line could be the punch line to something three episodes ago. And will we get more than one season? Hopefully, he says.

He was less enthusiastic about technologies like 3D and 4K saying they are taking a wait and see approach.




User Comments: 15

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yRaz yRaz said:

This just goes to show you that offering content at a reasonable price is the key to reducing piracy.

cuerdc said:

Yep just need to rid the region locking offer one huge database globally

2 people like this | freythman freythman said:

This just goes to show you that offering content at a reasonable price is the key to reducing piracy.

And here I was, all these years, thinking it was DRM that would eliminate piracy.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Netflix streaming service must be profitable, even at $7.99 per month. And they have a large amount of content. It just surprises me that others don't jump on their service and reap some of that profit. Wouldn't that be better than all their million dollar lawyers lobbying for anti-piracy, and these law suits to the average Joe's of the world for a grand sum that they could never recover?

yRaz yRaz said:

This just goes to show you that offering content at a reasonable price is the key to reducing piracy.

DRM is part of the problem, but the article was about tv shows and movies.

EDIT: wow, I really screwed that post up, hope you understand what I was saying

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

"Netflix?s chief content officer has a novel way to combat online piracy: give people easy and affordable ways to access content"

Well, duh! People don't pirate for the sake of pirating - they do it because it's the easiest, more affordable means available to them. Give them something easier and affordable and of course they are going to stop.

Timonius Timonius said:

I wonder how long before services like Netflix start charging much much more...

1 person liked this | Scshadow said:

I wonder how long before services like Netflix start charging much much more...

I wonder how long before greedy content owners start charging netflix much much more...

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

They did try charging $16.99 Netflix profits had dropped. They just need to stick with the $7.99 deal. Current Movies needs to be put on Netflix also some are showing up and never made it to the movies or DVDs. Best they do that, as the cost to go see these movies or out the door. At the iPic you pay $18 per person, you do get VIP treatment in the Theater, lazy boy reclining chairs with pillows and blankets, also full meal with wine or beer at extra cost. More of Movie and Dinning Experience. Then 3D iMax Theaters popping up all over the place.

veLa veLa said:

To be honest, this makes a lot of sense to me. Netflix at it's current price is so reasonable it's pointless to pirate any movies or shows if they're available to be streamed legally. I must say though, when I was a torrenter it was hardly movies and mostly games. Fortunately I became employed and enjoy the multiplayer options on Steam.

avoidz avoidz said:

Make it dirt cheap and region free and the people will come.

Camikazi said:

I wonder how long before services like Netflix start charging much much more...

I wonder how long before greedy content owners start charging netflix much much more...

They already started last year, the amount they charged Netflix to renew the license was an insane jump, so much so that Netflix had to raise it's prices to compensate for it. That is probably part of the reason that Netflix started making it's own original content.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

The original quote is, "The best way to combat piracy isn't legislatively or criminally but by giving good options." Which is much better than "fair prices". The word "fair" has been so abused and misused it's a shame. It's really unfortunate that his quote was misconstrued that way.

pieceofSchmitt pieceofSchmitt said:

I believe it, mines gone down drastically with spotify and netflix.

MilwaukeeMike said:

To be honest, this makes a lot of sense to me. Netflix at it's current price is so reasonable it's pointless to pirate any movies or shows if they're available to be streamed legally. I must say though, when I was a torrenter it was hardly movies and mostly games. Fortunately I became employed and enjoy the multiplayer options on Steam.

True, although their selection is still a little limited. I expect in the future we may see tiered subscription levels where a few more bucks a month gets you newer shows. For example, putting Game of Thrones season 1 and 2 on Netflix right now could make HBO good money on licensing, it wouldn't cut down on the piracy for season 3 (might actually make it worse), but they'd be getting something from fans who don't have HBO and right now they're not getting anything.

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