I’ve been around the free streaming sites for many years and I’ve seen many of them coming and going. In the past it was a real business to own and operate a streaming website because if you offered a decent quality and make some spam SEO then you suddenly have the chance to get your site visited by millions of people monthly and earn quite of money. At that time it much easier to rank on the most important keywords than it is today and this is one of the reasons why the streaming sites are not as profitable anymore.
Looking a bit at the search volume for the keywords like 123Movies, ProjectFreeTV, PutLockers and other I’ve observed it decreased in recent years and the question I want to get to is: Netflix and other premium streaming platforms are killing the pirate sites? Do people now preffer to pay for their content instead of watching it for free on kinda illegal websites?
Netflix company has been founded in 1997 but started to offer their online streaming service in 2007. In my opinion, it finally became a giant, worldwide popular, around 2016. With it, other streaming apps like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Go and lately Disney+ and Apple Tv+ started to grow and ”stole” fans from the free streaming sites. Now, probably all the people from middle class and higher have a subscription on at least on of those paid streaming services which means less visitors for the pirated content.
As of April 2020, Netflix had over 193 million paid subscriptions around the world. Around 73 million of them only in United States. Those numbers are really huge and you have to keep in mind that before Netflix existed, all those people were watching movies on the free sites that stream pirated content, just imagine that.
The problem with Netflix and all these legal platforms is the fact that they can’t offer all the content in the world. There are different laws in every county, there are still some countries where Netflix is not available, the copyright let each platform to only stream the content they own and so on. There are 6 big paid streaming sites which I have listed above and if somebody want to have access to all the movies and series then it must pay 6 subscriptions every month and not everyone can afford this, which means there is still room for the pirate streaming sites.
There are still many movies and tv series that are not available on any legal platform and the only way you can watch them is using either the torrents or the streaming sites. In my opinion, the pirate sites are not dead yet. Of course, their popularity decreased a lot in the last years and are not such a big deal today but I think they will continue to exist for at least a few more years until there will be chances for all the people in the world to afford a Netflix account or something and the piracy will disappear. This is just an assumption and we’ll see what will happen.