Ars Technica recently ran an article about Netflix and illicit file sharing. The amount of p2p traffic, as a percentage of the total traffic in the US, has decreased. At the same time, traffic from legitimate sites, especially Netflix, has increased as well. The article argues that these two are related, that people are choosing to go legit when they can.
I do not know if this analysis is true. Because everything is relative, and the total traffic has increased, it is possible that Netflix traffic has gone up, without p2p going down. Without absolute numbers, it is hard to know. Even with absolute numbers, it would still have been hard to know exact reasons behind those numbers.
What I can give you is anecdotal evidence. Netflix and Hulu have completely eliminated my pirating of video. The convenience of having content instantly available, mostly in high definition, is incredible.
So much so, that it has altered what I watch. If I can’t watch it in either of those two sources, it might as well not exist. I don’t even really bother with the Netflix discs that much anymore. When I want to watch something, I go to Netflix. If what I want to watch isn’t there, I look to see what is available. The shear quantity of titles means that there is a multitude of things I’ve never seen that are worth at least checking out. Because the investment is so low to try things, I have no worries if something is bad. I just pick it up and go.
There will always be people who want to get things for free, and there will always be people offering free content to fill that demand. But the every growing selection of legitimate video options is a welcome change. Much like iTunes helped music, I think Netflix and Hulu will help television and movies hold their place in this internet age.
-That is all.