Netflix CEO Hastings Says Piracy Helped It Thrive In The Age Of Digital Downloads

In a recent Spanish interview, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings offered a rather controversial perspective on content piracy via the Internet. In the interview, Hastings stated that while a great many may consider piracy to be a problem, the truth is that it has served a purpose in helping to create a public that is savvy about viewing best-quality content on demand via the Internet.

CEO Reed Hastings says Piracy Good for Netflix

Spain has long been a particularly sharp thorn in the paw of producers and distributors of entertainment products, with a raging culture of Internet file-sharing piracy borne of a dearth of good legal alternatives. Despite this, Hastings thinks Netflix's upcoming Spain launch will be one of the company's most successful to date, due to the country's high connectivity rate coupled with a populace that knows its way around the concept of commerce on the Internet. And because the legions of Spanish pirates already know what they should expect from online services, Hastings believes the transition to a service such as Netflix will be quite seamless, even going so far as to say that the convenience his company's service provides can trump the all-powerful "free".

“We offer a simpler and more immediate alternative to finding a torrent,” Hastings says. “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.”

Netflix plans to enter Spain in October with a pared-down version of their "full fat" service, at a 8€/month subscription price that the company expects will hit the sweet spot in a market suffering from economic hardship and high unemployment. Netflix then plans to expand the service as they make subscriber base inroads, as has been the case with the company's entries into such European markets as the UK, Holland, France, and Germany.