May 12, 2015 sica A

Netflix helps pirates revert to paying customers

Online video streaming favorites like Netflix are biting off a huge chunk of piracy deeds. As Netflix and other streaming services are easy to use and available at low prices, a number of pirates are now losing interest in downloading infringing content – except for several reformed pirates who are bending the rules by illegally accessing content restricted in their country.

Legal streaming over illegal downloading

According to the Global Internet Phenomena Report from Sandvine, a tech company from Waterloo, Ont., subjects display a preference for legal streaming over illegal downloading.

Sandvine’s Dan Deeth says, “People are shifting their activities and they’ve certainly embraced streaming video… Netflix and other streaming services have grown and BitTorrent has declined.”

In its 2014 report, Netflix accounts for almost 35% of downloading data traffic during North America’s peak hours, up from the 32.7% in 2011.

BitTorrent, on the other hand, only accounted for 2.8% of downloading data traffic, dropping from 7.6% in 2011.

Deeth explains, “When we talk about internet share, Netflix and other streaming services have grown and BitTorrent has declined. And that just speaks to the availability of these services and their ease of use, and the price point is often right.”

Take for example Sean Whitehead from Toronto, who proclaims streaming services have “cured his illegal downloading ways” which became a habit after disconnecting his cable services because he felt he was paying too much money for too little content.  He also broke cross-border laws to gain access to the restricted shows he wants. Whitehad says, “I only want to pay when there’s new stuff, and I’m happy to pay for that. But if I can’t legally pay for it in this country, I’ll find ways.”

What totally reformed Whitehead was the day Netflix was launched in Canada. He gave up piracy and now opts to pay a service more affordable than his traditional cable bill to watch his favorite shows via legal streaming.

He says, “Once you gain access to it, you think, well this is even easier than downloading. It’s like having a giant PVR that records everything for you. You’re picking what you want to watch and you hit play and it’s there.”

Netflix spokeswoman Marlee Tart emailed CBC News with the statement, “There’s been a notable reduction in piracy in countries where we operate such as the US and Canada. Ultimately people steal content because they can’t get it otherwise.”

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