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There’s no question that Netflix is one of the more successful companies in the entertainment world right now, but triumph rarely comes without its fair share of problems. While the streaming service has never been shy about addressing its difficulties with illegal piracy in the past, it appears as if executives are actively bothered by the growing complications, and the recent release of Orange is the New Black Season 3 is proof that changes need to happen. Looks like you’ve got some sizeable company on the piracy victim front, HBO.
Netflix is known to keep its viewership numbers under lock and key, and getting specific data on illegal online piracy is a similarly troublesome area of stats. But beyond the number-crunching, CNN points out that one of Netflix’s biggest problems right now is Internet search engines, which are sometimes far more likely to bring up piracy sites during a search for a series than the company’s dedicated pages.
For someone without any kind of search restrictions on their computer, apparently seeking out Orange is the New Black Season 3 will bring results for piracy websites like CareerPuppy.com and Series-Cravings.me, with the Netflix site not making the top spot. According to CNN, Bing and DuckDuckGo bring up the Netflix page as a top result, but not on Yahoo. And in all cases, the main page is surrounded by links to find the show illegally, so it’s not like being the most relevant search result is actually stopping non-subscribers from finding ways to get to the shows they want to watch. This has been a problem for years, as both OITNB’s Season 2 and House of Cards Season 3 were seen for free by a slew of people.
According to corporate filings with the SEC, Netflix has listed pirate websites as one of its top competitors, right alongside other DVD rental companies. To combat this, they want their links to beat out those of piracy sites, but that’s only part of the battle. People who frequent piracy websites presumably will do so regardless of what search results bring up, so the company will have to find other ways of limiting the illegal behavior.
Google’s public stats put Orange is the New Black as one of the most searched Internet terms on Thursday, when the hit series was released hours earlier than Netflix’s usual 12:00 a.m. PT timeframe. There’s no telling just how many people watched the show illegally at this point. Early results concerning the Wachowski siblings’ Sense8 showed that well over 500,000 people downloaded it in the first three days after its release on June 5, and considering Orange is the New Black is probably more popular, given its critical acclaim, we can only assume its illegal download numbers are even higher.
So while Netflix has taken measures to limit certain forms of pirating, they still have a ways to go in eliminating the problem completely.