Thursday, 14 November 2013

Netflix is fighting illegal downloading

In our Integrated Marketing Communications class this past semester; we tackled the issue of piracy. After extensive research, many of us concluded that changing the behaviour of pirates is almost impossible. With Australia being one of the world’s most prolific downloaders, some of the research did point to access as being a solution to the problem. If people had faster Internet and if companies allowed instantaneous access to their shows, illegal downloading wouldn't be necessary…. Right?

Although research is still conflicting, with some research indicating downloaders will always download illegally regardless of access, the statistics are proving that access may be the answer. While there are many different sources of on-demand services out there, like Hulu and iTunes, Netflix proves to be the one that is fighting piracy more than the others.

When Netflix entered the Canadian market it saw illegal downloading rates drop by 50 percent, as subscriptions to the streaming service rose. In fact, Netflix say they benefit and learn from illegal downloading, monitoring what shows are trending and purchasing those for their company.

Not only is Netflix out performing its competitors, like Amazon and YouTube, it’s also directly affecting the traffic to sites like BitTorrent. The growth of Netflix has diminished BitTorrent’s traffic, which at five years ago attracted 31 percent of downstream traffic a day, to a measly 7.4 percent during peak traffic period currently. 

But when companies are offering similar access, what makes Netflix different? I believe it is their brand. With a strong personality, great interface, and personalised settings, Netflix is more like a buddy who likes watching TV, than a company providing a service. There is a whole science behind the algorithm Netflix uses to recommend you movies and TV shows, demonstrating the true dedication the company has to their service. And the results show it’s working.

I’ll be sure to keep my eye on the statistics if Foxtel ever let Netflix into Australia, because I believe everyone wants a caring buddy, just trying to please. That buddy is Netflix, and it may be the answer to Australia’s downloading problem.

Hongi  Luo
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School.

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