Netflix checks which shows are popular on torrenting sites before buying broadcasting rights, an executive has revealed.
A VP at the streaming service, which has been credited with cutting into the popularity of file-sharing sites with its own paid-for content, said the most downloaded programmes on piracy websites guides their own acquisitions.
Kelly Merryman told Butch website Tweakers: "With the purchase of series, we look at what does well on piracy sites."
One such show is Prison Break - a hit with illegal downloaders in the Netherlands, where Netflix is rolling out its video streaming service. "Prison Break is exceptionally popular on piracy sites," confirmed Merryman.
Recent and separate comments from another Netflix VP, Reed Hastings, suggest the company even benefits from the demand created for TV programmes by torrenting sites.
He told Tweakers: "Certainly there's some torrenting that goes on, and that's true around the world, but some of that just creates the demand.
"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."