Something’s not right in the United States.
Increasingly people start to pay for Netflix subscriptions so they can stream movies on demand.
In the States Netflix nearly doubled the number of new subscribers in the first quarter of 2010, from 1.7 to 3.3 million. In total, Netflix now has 22.8 million paid subscribers in the US, which generated a total revenue of $706 million in the first quarter of this year.
It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that Netflix’ popularity has a negative effect on the movie piracy rates in the US.
Although no torrent site has gone out of business yet, Netflix certainly is a serious ‘competitor’ for access to movies.
As we’ve said a few times in the past, the only way to decrease piracy is to compete with it and offer products that are superior to its pirated counterpart.
It appears that for (older) movies Netflix is on the right path here.
Movie piracy is not quite gone yet, but Netflix shows that people are willing to pay for access to movies online, even when plenty of pirated copies are available. The next step is to offer easy access to movies in the rest of the world, and get rid of the artificial delays in release dates.
Update: Of course Netflix is not going to stop piracy entirely, as people have many different reasons to use BitTorrent to download movies without consent of the copyright holders. This post was merely to accentuate that Netflix is taking away one of the main piracy motivators (lack of availability) for a group of people. We have some preliminary stats which show that the number of abslute US downloaders slightly decreased over the last year, but more thorough research is obviously needed to make conclusive statements.