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Meet the movie pirating service that Netflix is afraid of

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 8:55PM EST
Netflix Vs Popcorn Time

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Movie pirating used to be something that happened quietly behind closed doors. Unscrupulous Internet users would swarm to peer-to-peer file-sharing services and download bootleg copies of films, trying to hide their tracks as best they could. Now, the Internet is a very different place. People flock to Reddit and other online forums to openly discuss movie theft, and the most popular means of downloading stolen movies are widely publicized services like The Pirate Bay and Popcorn Time.

And when it comes to the latter, it turns out Popcorn Time isn’t just a tiny little piracy tool. The industry has taken notice and now Netflix, the biggest streaming movie and TV show service in the world, has directly named Popcorn Time as a threat.

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Alongside the company’s recent earnings report, Netflix issues a letter to investors discussing its results and its business. In a lengthy second titled “competition,” Netflix covered all of its key competition — including Popcorn Time.

Here is the full section that mentions the service, which is often referred to as “Netflix for pirates.”

There is no news yet on timing or price of HBO’s expansion of a direct-to-consumer model to the US. Their Nordics’ offer is priced about the same as Netflix but the content offering includes only HBO and other original series, and not the breadth of movie content HBO offers in the US.

Verizon and Redbox shut down their Netflix streaming competitor after about one year of operation. CBS launched its CBS All Access streaming service which, like Hulu, has commercial interruptions. Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Yahoo are all increasing their original programming efforts.

Shomi and CraveTV launched in Canada. In many of our international markets, we face competition from both stand alone OTT services (Clarovideo in Mexico, for instance) and ones associated with incumbent broadcasters (CanalPlay in France). In Australia we will face strong competition this year, and look forward to getting started later this quarter.

Piracy continues to be one of our biggest competitors. This graph of Popcorn Time’s sharp rise relative to Netflix and HBO in the Netherlands, for example, is sobering.

MVPDs around the world are moving as they can to on-demand cloud-DVR models. Dish and Sony are launching “Internet MVPD” services.

In general, Internet TV is going mainstream, which both increases the size of the market and brings new competitors. It couldn’t be a more exciting time in our industry!

Popcorn Time is a free download

, and of course all of the pirated content it makes accessible is free as well.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.