Once upon a time, anyone wanting to watch a recent movie would have a straightforward choice – go to the cinema or don’t watch it at all. Nowadays there are many more options but that hasn’t necessarily made things easier – at least for those who want to go legal.
In contrast to pirate site users who can access all of the latest films without paywalls and with just a few clicks, those who want to access movies from official sources are confronted with a bewildering number of services, none of which will provide everything the average consumer wants.
As a result, millions of people now subscribe to multiple legal streaming services with no easy way of searching across all of them. Add to that the need to pay for downloads of movies considered to be of a more premium nature and consumers can quickly find themselves down a rabbit hole with no straightforward way to find the content they want.
FindAnyFilm.com – The Legal Movie Search Engine
Founded way back in 2009 and currently operated by the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, FindAnyFilm hoped to become a valuable service to entice users away from the simplicity of pirate sites by providing a search engine to quite literally “find any film”.
In practice, FindAnyFilm is useful for finding content available to watch in cinemas or buy on services such as iTunes, Prime Video, Amazon, and Sky Store. But it comes up short when the wider streaming landscape is considered. Today, however, the platform added a significant new string to its bow by incorporating Disney+ titles into its databases.
“The Industry Trust works to keep consumers safe with education about the risks of infringing content, and FindAnyFilm acts as the ideal call to action for all anti-piracy outreach,” says Liz Bales, Chief Executive of The Industry Trust.
“Building on the collaborative relationship between The Walt Disney Company and the Industry Trust, Disney+ is a vital addition to the site’s SVOD offerings, which serves our shared goal of ensuring that FindAnyFilm.com is the ultimate destination for consumers to search, find and watch content safely.”
Discovering Content is Only Part of the Problem
While finding great content is now easier than ever with the enhanced FindAnyFilm, the same old frustrations – which are nothing to do with the platform – soon raise their heads.
For example, UK viewers desperate to watch the new Disney movie Cruella will indeed find it comprehensively listed on FindAnyFilm. Unfortunately, they will also learn that in addition to paying for a monthly Disney+ subscription, they will need to fork out an additional £19.99 to watch the movie.
They could wait until August 27 when it appears in the Disney standard library but those with a penchant for pirate sites can watch it right now without paying a dime. Of course, that isn’t the spirit of FindAnyFilm, but it is difficult to ignore the competition when trying to recapture a pirate audience. But there is a bigger problem too.
The Glaring Ommission That Doesn’t Get Talked About
The Industry Trust for IP Awareness says that using FindAnyFilm.com ensures that consumers in the UK “can be certain that the content they love comes from a legitimate source, avoiding the personal risks inherent in accessing pirated content.” What it doesn’t mention is the massive hole in its ability to point people to the content they want.
With more than 200 million subscribers worldwide, Netflix is not only the largest streaming service in business today but also one of the best piracy deterrents to date. By offering huge volumes of content at a fair price, Netflix has done more than any other platform to turn pirates into paying customers. Unfortunately, users of FindAnyFilm won’t be directed to any titles on Netflix.
In 2016, FindAnyFilm told us that there was no working relationship between the platform and Netflix and five years on it appears that hasn’t changed.
Anyone searching for ‘Army of the Dead’, for example, should pay close attention since instead of Zack Snyder’s latest horror offering, they could end up buying a movie of the same name from 2008. Anyone looking for the hit movie ‘Extraction’ should also keep their wits about them since the two titles offered do not star Chris Hemsworth.
Adding Netflix Would Help Both Platforms
Whether FindAnyFilm and Netflix will eventually team up is unclear but at the moment the lack of a partnership means that people are finding less legal content than they should, despite showing clear purchasing signals. FindAnyFilm does work pretty well generally but when it fails to come up with content when it really should, it leads to frustration and as we’ve seen time and again, frustration leads to piracy.
The final issue is one of poor exposure to the internet-based audience where pirates can be found. FindAnyFilm.com is by most standards a poorly-trafficked site. Indeed, the numbers are so low that SimilarWeb doesn’t carry any visitor data and Alexa currently ranks the site #1,763,978 in user engagement.
Even small pirate sites with the lowest visitor numbers have more reach, so this is something that will need to be addressed in order to transform the portal into a service that can make a big difference when helping people to part with their money.