Netflix surfs pirate sites to see what’s ‘hot’ for shows people like

16 Sep 2013

Actor Orlando Bloom at the unveiling of the special-edition red envelopes by Netflix and diector Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, California

On-demand video-streaming service Netflix checks out the content that is on piracy sites in order to figure out what’s hot in terms of the shows and movies people are watching. Netflix vice-president of content acquisition Kelly Merryman revealed this market-research insight in the Netherlands recently, as the company launched its service there.

According to a report on and subsequently on, Merryman said Netflix looks at pirate sites to see what TV series, videos, movies and shows are doing well. That is before Netflix powers ahead and acquires the rights to digital content. Think popular shows like The Following, Charmed, The Killing and Breaking Bad.

Snooping on torrent sites to sniff out user behaviour and preferences

Netflix has been available in Ireland and the UK since January 2012. By July of that year, the service had amassed 1m users in both Ireland and the UK combined.

Future Human

This past April, as part of its earnings call for the first quarter, Netflix announced it had gained 36m subscribers worldwide – 7.14m of which were located outside the US, at the time.

In August, Netflix spun out its ‘Profiles’ feature. This allows for the creation of up to five individual profiles on the same household Netflix account.

Orlando Bloom/Netflix image via s bukley/Shutterstock 

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic