It’s not often we see the CEOs of major companies give piracy credit for helping their business, but Netflix’s Reed Hastings strikes me as an atypical CEO – in a good way.
In a recent Spanish interview, Hastings admits that piracy helped get people ready for his company’s service, because torrenting and watching Netflix offers many of the same – dare I say it – benefits. Such as convenience. But to Netflix’s favor, it’s hard to beat its convenience level, and that’s one of the reasons the service has proven to be so popular.
While downloading pirated content continues to become easier and easier, no solution can match the elegance of Netflix. There’s no worry about content quality, or whether it will properly stream. By using the service, you know you’ll be getting clear HD image quality, and get that clear HD image quality reliably. Netflix also offers a fairly elegant search and browse feature (though I’ll never understand why “Continue Watching” isn’t always at the very top), so it’s just… more comfortable to use.
Hastings says, “In Holland we had a similar situation. That too was a country with a high rate of piracy. And the same thing happened in Canada. In both countries we are a successful service.”
Oh, Canada. This is something I can understand quite well, because I know of a lot of people who used to pirate content fairly regularly, but now don’t bother because they have Netflix. However, every single one of them, to my knowledge, use a VPN to access the US library, so little do they realize, they are dirty little thieves.
Hastings doesn’t seem that afraid of competition, and even brought bottled water into an argument. “We can think of this as the bottled water business. Tap water can be drunk and is free, but there is still a public that demands bottled water.” That’s a great point. I’ve long said that most people don’t pirate just because they are too cheap; they do it because it’s easy. Netflix is likewise “easy”.