Streaming media services from companies like Spotify and Netflix have long argued to big media owners that streaming is the way to capture market share back from pirate sites and hence increase revenues. Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, put it like this recently (from Torrentfreak):
“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.
Eventually these BitTorrent users may want to switch to Netflix as it’s a much better user experience than torrenting, according to the CEO.
“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 says.
And there is some evidence that people are indeed switching from free sites to Netflix. According to Hastings, there is evidence that BitTorrent traffic in Canada dropped 50% after Netflix started there three years ago.
But the dependency goes further than this. In an ironic twist Kelly Merryman, Netflix VP of Content Acquisition has said that popularity on file sharing services plays a part in determining which TV-Series Netflix buys.