Streaming services dependent on pirating

By September 16, 2013PCTV, TV

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.

  • I can instantly eliminate 80% of pirating. Put copyright back to a reasonable 20 years instead the crazy 175 years we have now. I am continuously annoyed when 75 year old jazz tracks disappear from Spotify over licensing disputes. Come on, every single person associated with those recordings is long dead. How do they need the ‘incentive’ of copyright to produce more works?

  • I agree. Copyright law doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do.

  • Lry

    Streaming is definitely the answer to pirating (not so sure about the dependent part), but it kind of seems like it’ll all go toward ad supported. With streaming music this seems to be the case with more services offering this option. When things are accessible without paying, a company has to be very careful what they ask their consumers for. I, for example, only do free (but it does keep me from pirating) whether it’s pandora’s ad supported, grooveshark, or torch music, at least it’s not stealing, and these days it’s the most that can be asked for.