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Pirated streaming apps lead the entertainment category in the Brazilian Google Play Store. These unauthorized streaming apps attract a huge audience and outperform official streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney, and HBO in download rankings. While piracy is a worldwide phenomenon, Brazil certainly stands out.
Over the past decade, mobile apps have become the standard platform for most people consuming online content.
Whether it’s shopping, news or entertainment, there is a mobile app available for any type of content.
This shift in consumption patterns is not limited to legal content; streaming piracy has also gone mobile. Pirated streaming apps often have to be downloaded to devices, but can sometimes be found in official app stores as well.
App store operators Apple and Google make it clear that infringing apps are against their terms, but some do get through. In Brazil, the situation seems to be spinning out of control.
Pirated Apps Defeat Streaming Giants
Local news site Tecmundo spotted that several of the most popular entertainment apps in the local Play Store provide access to pirated streams. Applications such as “Cine Vision V5” and “MegaFlix” rank higher than Netflix, HBO and Disney.
This is also not the latest trend. Streaming pirated apps have dominated the top charts for weeks on end, if not longer. And there are also many alternative versions in circulation.
The apps in question, including “MegaFlix”, stream pirated copies of movies and TV shows. They are then monetized through ads. This can be quite lucrative as some apps have millions of downloads.
Over time, some applications have been removed from the Play Store, but those that are at the top of the rankings today are listed there for some time without any problems.
5 million downloads, 82 thousand reviews
Looking at Reviews in the Play Store, it becomes immediately clear that these are not just a few minor applications. Cine Vision V5, for example, has over 82,000 reviews at the time of writing, and the vast majority of them are positive.
“Incredible! [Cine Vision V5] has content from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Apple TV and more. It’s like I signed up for all these streams without paying anything, ”writes one of the reviewers.
“Very good app. Episodes can be marked as viewed and not confused then continue. Few ads,” adds another.
These appear to be legitimate reviews, and positive comments like this appear regularly on social media. However, oddly enough, this hype is mostly limited to Brazil. In most other countries, the app does not seem to have gained much popularity.
Positive reviews are also local. When we first looked at the reviews, the ones we saw mostly complained that the app only lists the trailers and not the full content. After moving to the Brazilian store rave reviews appeared.
This suggests that some of these apps work differently depending on which country they are downloaded from. Indeed, this is confirmed by our own experience.
After we couldn’t find a copy of “Cine Vision V5” in our local Play Store, we were able to install “MegaFlix”. To our surprise, the app only listed trailers. This is confirmed by various negative feedback. in Portuguesehowever, reviews are mostly positive.
Apparently, developers deliberately limit the audience of their full-fledged applications to several locales. They may not want to draw attention to themselves in some countries, and this can also help apps get through Google’s review process.
While this is an interesting approach, it’s hard to go unnoticed when apps consistently appear on the “most popular” charts. Eventually, copyright holders will take notice.