One of Netflix's goals has always been to combat piracy of TV shows and movies — if you can get all the shows and movies you want for only a few dollars a month, the company hopes you'll stop downloading them illegally. But as the service rolls out in the Netherlands, Reed Hastings' team has gone so far as to actually check piracy statistics in determining what shows to buy. VP of Content Acquisition Kelly Merryman told Tweakers that "with the purchase of series, we look at what does well on piracy sites." That led to Netflix buying Prison Break, for instance, a commonly torrented show in the Netherlands.
Merryman told Tweakers about some of Netflix's other considerations as well, including shows like The Voice that the company decides are more suited to live audiences — that's why we'll also likely never see Netflix competing for sports contracts, or airing an evening news show. Sadly, though Reed Hastings also told Tweakers that he'd love to help Game of Thrones solve its massive piracy problem by airing the show on Netflix, HBO's apparently not interested. But if Netflix can convince other studios and networks that piracy isn't better than an Emmy, it'll have an easy sales pitch to make for a lot of popular shows around the world.