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How Netflix Uses Piracy to Pick Its Programming

Company looks at what's popular on illegal services in determining what shows to buy, according to Netflix exec

Netflix examines what’s popular on Internet piracy sites as part of its content-development strategy, according to a company executive.

In addition what’s popular among TV viewers in a given country, “when purchasing series, we look at what does well on piracy sites,” Netflix VP of content acquisition Kelly Merryman said, according to a translation of her comments to Tweakers, a technology website based in the Netherlands.

Netflix launched in the Netherlands this week, the 41st country where it has rolled out, offering its service for €7.99 per month (about $10.59 U.S.).

For the Dutch market, Netflix acquired the rights to “Prison Break” specifically because it has been very popular on pirate sites, Merryman said in the Tweakers interview. The show, which aired in the U.S. on Fox, was produced by 20th Century Fox Television.

SEE ALSO: Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ Falls Prey to Piracy

Netflix execs have previously claimed that piracy rates decline in countries after it launches. Indeed, CEO Reed Hastings claimed that BitTorrent usage in Canada dropped 50% following the streaming service’s launch in the country.

“Netflix is so much easier than (using BitTorrent),” Hastings said in a separate interview with Tweakers. “You don’t have to deal with files, you don’t have to download them and move them around. You just click and watch.”

Watch the Hastings interview:

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