Netflix’s decision to raise their prices in combination with the pressure from their new rival, Amazon, put them in a slight down time in their shares during the first quarter. They also expected more than 3 million cancellations. With over 83 million members in over 190 countries, the company was not that much affected.
According to some analysts, besides the reasons above, there is another reason for the cancellation. All these users who want to keep watching their favorite show also have easy access to the underground rivals from the dark side of the force: the torrent websites.
And how to speak about them without mentioning the undisputed leader, KAT, alias KickassTorrents? (Read Kickass Torrents Turns Into Netflix Of Torrents, Lets You Stream Content Online For Free) Coincidence or not, few month after this fluctuation in the video-on-demand market, Kickasstorrents, after working for more than eight years shut down to be one of the biggest copyright infringement cases in the history. Artem Vaulin, the alleged founder of KAT, was arrested on the 20th of April in Poland. The 30-year-old Ukrainian is charged with money laundering and copyright infringement.
“Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials,” Assistant Attorney General Caldwell
KAT and the pirate bay did not host pirated content, but rather listed the links from which the users could download and share some -provided legally or not- content. They also gathered a huge community of users, which is now scattered.
Exactly as after the collapse of Kickasstorrents, copycats were mushrooming, from mirrors providing partial copies of the website – KAT.am being the most popular- to groups who are trying to take advantage the brand’s renown. None of them so far is related to the original KAT team, and the chances are thin that the KAT community will resurrect.
The criminal complaint reveals that the feds posed as an advertiser, which revealed a bank account associated with the site. Apple handed over personal details of Vaulin after the investigator cross-referenced an IP-address used for an iTunes transaction with an IP-address that was used to login to KAT’s Facebook account.
It is also stated that KAT had more than 50 million unique monthly visitors, was worth more than $54 million net, and generated between $12.5 and $22.3 million a year in the advertisement. Now we just have to wait and see how Netflix and other video-on-demand services could benefit from this opportunity.