An App called TeaTV is providing streaming services on what seems to be pirated content from Netflix and even HBO for free. TeaTV seems to be tapping into the gray area of digital advertising to obtain ad revenue from legit advertisers.
Watching a pirated version of Joker though, a bit on the ‘shaky cam hidden at the back of a cinema’ kind is now as easy as downloading a streaming app from a website. There is one catch, even though the movie seems to be pirated, you still have to watch it with ads.
TeaTV is one of the more popular sites where you can find this kind of illegal content. The website offers a wide range of pirated movies from streaming services like Netflix to big cable networks like HBO, alongside up to date movie releases from top film companies. TikTok, Pandora (a music streaming provider), Hulu, BET+ and even Yahoo Mail have ads shown while you watch a movie.
Online ads from big advertisers such as Amazon Fire TV, Kia, and Walgreens can be seen through Google. Adroll, The Trade Desk, and a few others have stopped putting out ads on the website early October when CNBC began contacting ad-tech companies and other advertisers.
A lot of brand advertisers didn’t respond when CNBC reached out to request for a comment, or did not address the issue on the record at all. A spokesperson from Walgreens stated that the company was not aware about the issue and are against advertising on sites that cater to pirated content. The spokesperson added that the company was working hard in resolving the matter.
The sad part is even though a lot of companies in the advertising world are aware of this issue, ads still keep on coming. During a meeting among industry players in New York, they discussed about ad-supported piracy, and TeaTV specifically was a topic of discussion according to someone who was in attendance.
TeaTV is not the only app that does this though. Other apps and websites that provide pirated material will expedite the issue further to a point that experts say will be much more harder to deal with in the future. Authorities that try and take down these sites will find themselves in a perpetual game of ‘whack-a-mole’.
At the moment, apps like TeaTV are making a ton of money bootlegging movies like Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker, because people can just download the app for free and watch it in the comfort of their own home instead of paying $15 to see it in a cinema. A lot of YouTube videos even have tutorials on how to use TeaTV using their Amazon Fire Stick so that they can watch on their TVs.
People go on Twitter everyday and tweet how they watch movies and shows on the app because they either don’t have the capacity to do so legitimately, or that they just don’t want to.