Branded a “Netflix for Pirates,” the Popcorn Time app quickly gathered a user base of millions of people over the past year.
The application has some of the major media giants worried, including Netflix which sees the pirate app as a serious competitor to its business.
Popcorn Time is also a rival for traditional torrent clients such as uTorrent, albeit of a different kind. However, until now how these different types of BitTorrent traffic compare in volume terms has remained unknown.
New data from network management company Procera sheds some light on how the two stack up against each other. Procera gathered data from a European fixed line network in March and April and shared their findings with TF.
On this particular network, which has a capacity of dozens of Gigabits per second, Popcorn Time accounted for roughly 18 Gigabit per second at its peak. The traffic was lowest at night, dropping to nearly zero.
All the traffic in question was generated by ‘traditional’ video torrents which were then streamed through the Popcorn Time app.
The data above comes from one network, so the numbers are not very meaningful without a good comparison standard. For this reason, Procera also monitored the traffic generated by uTorrent.
The graph below shows that uTorrent accounts for at least double the traffic compared to Popcorn Time, with a approximately 44 Gigabit per second at the peak in April.
While the vast majority of uTorrent traffic is generated by video, it’s worth noting that the data above also includes transfers of software, music and other content.
Non-uTorrent BitTorrent transfers were insignificant according to Procera, well below the traffic Popcorn Time generates.
The traffic patterns observed on this European network may be different in other parts of the world. However, with Popcorn Time having a massive user base in Europe, it’s safe to conclude that the app is not rivaling traditional torrent yet, traffic-wise.
It will be interesting to see if Popcorn Time will continue to grow during the coming year. The application is now available on all major operating systems and it’s not unthinkable that it will eventually catch up with uTorrent.