Netflix believes that it faces tough competition from Popcorn Time, which is often dubbed the ‘Netflix for pirates.’ Popcorn Time is a torrent-based service, unlike Netflix, which is a typical video streaming service.
What makes Netflix worry?
Recently, Netflix sent a letter to its shareholders in which it said that the piracy is the biggest problem faced by the company to date, and named Popcorn Time as a potential rival.
Popcorn Time is an app for Macs and jailbroken iOS devices. The app has an interface that is very easy to use, and offers its users a huge amount of content to select from. The users of the app can stream movies and television shows from the cloud. The Popcorn Time app is easily downloadable and can be used for streaming movies and television shows even by users who don’t fully understand torrenting. Bit-torrent has been a popular tool used for piracy, but the Popcorn Time app makes it even simpler which is why Netflix is so worried.
Netflix points to a Google Trends graph that compares the popularity of searches for Netflix, HBO and Popcorn Time in Netherlands. The graph indicates that in terms of the searches Popcorn Time matches the popularity of Netflix and HBO, however, if we take the global view, Netflix is way bigger than both Popcorn Time and HBO.
Popcorn Time is just a year old
Popcorn Time surfaced in March of last year. The original group behind it disbanded since then, and variants of the software are now being distributed by different groups.
Netflix is not the only company concerned about piracy. The late Steve Jobs had a similar view of music piracy, when he was in the process of making the iTunes into a music store offering a better and higher quality product than what was being offered by competitors.
The major reason behind the success of streaming services like Netflix and Spotify is that the streaming content is more easily available over the Internet than pirating. But these services may lose momentum if piracy becomes easier than using Netflix. This is the major challenge facing Netflix over the next few years.