While ‘pirate’ sites still exist as regular web-based streaming or torrent portals accessible through a browser, recent years have seen a shift.
Software applications, or apps as they’re more commonly known, are now seen as a more convenient option.
Installable on phones, tablets, and a multitude of set-top devices, they often provide access to huge libraries of instantly-streamable movie and TV shows, presented in a Netflix-style interface.
While Popcorn Time was the first to hit the mainstream, plenty of alternatives now exist. One of those is TeaTV, a popular app for Android, Windows and macOS. According to SimilarWeb stats, its download portal has been pulling in around 1.5 million visits per month but a few days ago a considerable irritant presented itself.
News outlet CNBC – which is owned by media giant NBCUniversal – ran a piece claiming that TeaTV was being “bankrolled” by advertising, some of it being placed by Pandora, TikTok, Hulu, Yahoo Mail, and Amazon, among others.
There was no suggestion in the CNBC piece that any of the companies placed ads directly with Teat-TV. Instead, a network of hard-to-control resellers was handed the blame, some of which are no longer doing business with TeaTV due to the CNBC investigation. Other advertising companies approached declined to comment.
Interestingly, the publication also revealed that during a “recent meeting of major industry players in New York” on the topic of ad-supported piracy, TeaTV came up as a discussion point.
Who those players are is open to debate but ad-supported piracy is a hot topic and there can be little doubt that familiar names, including those involved in the ACE anti-piracy coalition (CNBC owner NBCUniversal is an ACE member), would’ve been privy to the conversations.
Perhaps coincidentally but more likely not, in the hours following the publication of the CNBC piece, TeaTV began to purge itself from the web. Its main webpage, previously located at TeaTV.net, no longer exists, meaning that downloads of the app from that portal have come to a halt.
Furthermore, TeaTV’s social media has been blacked out too. Both its Twitter and Facebook pages have been removed or deleted, leading some to speculate that the popular software has been consigned to history following the investigation.
After receiving unconfirmed information that TeaTV won’t ever be coming back, TorrentFreak spoke directly with a source very close to the app. That person declined to comment on the CNBC investigation specifically or whether TeaTV’s disappearance is directly connected to it.
However, we were assured that TeaTV will be returning sometime in the future. No timescale was given for the full resurrection but at least some changes are planned, including a potential rebranding of the app.
“Just a matter of time. We will get back to you when there is an update,” we were told.
With a full return (in some shape or form) penciled in for a future date, it appears that TeaTV as an application is still working for many of its users. Numerous reports online suggest that despite the app’s homepage and social media going dark, the software is still providing access to content.