“Popcorn Time” stops due to lack of use * TorrentFreak

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At its peak, Popcorn-Time.to had millions of active users, but these forks and others have lost their luster. The hacking tool that once worried Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has decided to shut down. The team informs TorrentFreak that a lack of usage is the main reason for this move, which is likely the result of competition from other pirate tools.

When the original Popcorn Time app launched eight years ago, we billed it as “Netflix for Hackers”.

The software offered a clean and easy to use interface for streaming pirated movies and TV shows, all powered by BitTorrent.

Compete with Hollywood and Netflix

In the years that followed Popcorn Time had to endure many legal threats, mainly from Hollywood. The original developers were quick to throw in the towel, but the open source code was largely copied with Popcorn-Time.to emerging as one of the main forks.

During those early years, millions of people used the software. This was a major concern for Hollywood, and Netflix also began to worry when Google’s searches for Popcorn Time began to rival Netflix’s in some areas.

“Piracy continues to be one of our biggest competitors,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings commented in 2015, specifically mentioning the growing popularity of Popcorn Time.

This sparked a wave of coercive action, including a lawsuit in the United States, targeting the alleged operator of Popcorn-Time.to (later .tw). This case was ultimately dismissed after film production companies realized they had identified the wrong person. Ultimately, the fork stayed online.

Popcorn-Time.tw stops

Despite several storms, the curtain finally fell for Popcorn-Time.tw this week, but legal issues did not play a role.

popcorn time trends tear apart

Speaking to TorrentFreak, the team at Popcorn Time said the decrease in interest from the hacked public led them to make this drastic decision.

“It’s time to say goodbye,” notes the Popcorn Time team. “The world doesn’t need Popcorn Time anymore.”

This decline in popularity is largely the result of competition from other pirate tools which have made the software virtually obsolete. Pirate streaming sites and dedicated streaming boxes have grown in popularity over the years, effectively taking over the role of “Netflix for Hackers”.

The alternatives take over

The change in preference also had a clear impact on Popcorn Time usage numbers. A few years ago, millions of people used the software regularly, but most of them have switched to more convenient alternatives.

This development is also summarized by a Google Trends chart published by Popcorn Time as part of its farewell post. Interest in the app continues to wane, and the days when it rivaled Netflix in some areas are long gone.

Popcorn Time’s demise doesn’t mean that Netflix has of course been successful in defeating online piracy. Pirate streaming sites and devices remain a big challenge, and Netflix content is still heavily pirated on regular torrent sites.

Plus, hackers who really insist on using Popcorn Time can probably still find a working fork somewhere. The official Popcorn Time repository on GitHub remains live, even though the associated PopcornTime.app domain has been offline for almost a year.


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