Why these shows can't just be made available to everyone, I don't know. Netflix has claimed on multiple occasions that whenever the release a show or movie, the number of people downloading that show or movie over BitTorrent drops significantly. So, by making it harder to watch shows and movies legally, Netflix is effectively encouraging copyright infringement.
Personally, I think that's just what the entertainment industry wants: to have more victims to sue. Why else would uploading a $20 movie result in a multi-million dollar lawsuit?