For a lot of people piracy is about convenience and affordability. While some people will pirate regardless, most of us are happy to pay for content if you we can get something for a reasonable price without jumping through a million hoops first.
The developers of torrent streaming service Popcorn Time seem to be in agreement, because they're working on improving the fragmented streaming landscape and make it more user friendly. While the service has been shut down and resurrected on more than one occasion, some of the developers only ever wanted to make it easier to access films and TV - something they're continuing with a new startup ReelGood.
Rather than using piracy as a way of connecting people with content, ReelGood is an attempt to fix streaming fragmentation and become the go-to tool for legal streamers. This means sticking all the different services together, whether they're free of have to be paid for. In fact, speaking to Torrent Freak, former Popcorn Time developer Luigi Poole claims that streaming fragmentation is part of what drives people to pirate content in the first place.
"There’s a misconception that torrenting is done by bad people who don’t want to pay for content. I’d say, in the vast majority of cases, torrenting is a symptom of the massive fragmentation that’s been given as the only legal option to the consumer.
The modern TV/movie ecosystem is made up of an increasing number of different services. This makes finding content like changing channels, only more complicated. Is that movie you’re about to buy or rent on a service you already pay for? Right now there’s no way to do this other than a cumbersome search using each service’s individual search. Time to go digging. We believe this is the main reason people torrent — it’s just easier, given that the legal options presented to us are essentially a ‘go fetch’ treasure hunt."
With recent news that Disney is going to launch its own premium streaming services, and that CBS would be launching its All Access platform internationally, that problem is only going to get worse. If you subscribe to Netflix and Amazon, and find that there's content that requires an extra monthly subscription, are you going to pay for it? Even if you are, are you going to be happy about continually switching between services?
Simply put ReelGood is sort of like your TV's listings guide, letting you collect all your streaming subscriptions in one place and providing a uniform interface to access content. It also has tools that notify you when specific content becomes available, whether it's on the platform you subscribe to or not.
At the moment ReelGood is only compatible with US streaming catalogues, but the team hopes to expand it internationally before long. While it doesn't stop massive delays between US and UK broadcast dates (which still happens if the content doesn't go to Sky, Amazon, or Netflix), nor does it stop the spiralling cost of having to subscribe to multiple premium services, it's a big step in the right direction. [Torrent Freak]