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An Arresting Development? Netflix Becomes Pirate Bait

by Adriana Lee | May 30, 2013May 30, 2013 7:30 pm PDT


Netflix’s release of Arrested Development‘s entire “fourth season” was a long-awaited event for fans of the original show. And so, when the newly produced vids came online last Sunday, a lot of people stood by to binge-watch the episodes — including those who didn’t pay for it. According to paidContent, roughly 100,000 people pirated the vids in the first day.

Is the $7.99 per month too rich for people’s blood? Not likely. As it turns out, many of those illegal downloads came from markets where the service isn’t available.

That’s interesting, since it speaks to what could be a key factor in some cases of content piracy: Availability. Take, for example, Game of Thrones. Since it requires a cable package plus HBO subscription, the show is out of reach for cord-cutters and basic cable subscribers. Maybe that’s why the season premiere became such fierce piracy bait. Its April opener triggered as many as a million illicit downloads.

Of course, the HBO series is one of the most successful serials on television right now, so it’s a no-brainer that Games would be pirated more than Arrested Development. Still, the scenario offers a little food for thought, especially in light of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ claim that his company’s convenient, affordable approach is winning the war against piracy (at least where it’s available).

What do you think? Is Netflix on the right track? Can affordability and availability beat back the forces of content piracy? Weigh in.

Adriana Lee

Adriana is the resident writer-slash-culture vulture who has written about everything from smartphones, tablets, apps, accessories, and small biz...