All posts by 340274re

Will Popcorn Time survive the war?

In one of my previous post I elaborated on the success of user-generated products/ services and concluded that user-generated products outperform designer generated products on almost every performance metric within the first 3 years (Nishikawa et al., 2012).

Popcorn Time is a good example of such success stories. This platform is an illegal video streaming service that gained allots popularity in a really short time. By the end of 2014 it was known that approximately 1.3 million devices in the Netherlands had the software installed and that this amount was rising by around 15000 on a daily basis. It’s a software on which you can search for the film or series that you want and thereafter stream it while it’s downloading. As it appears, the team behind Popcorn Time consists of a set of developers who work partly together on developing the software.
Another success criterion of this application is that they are trying to guarantee the security and privacy issues of the customers. This is also one of the main discussed topics we had during the lectures. They use the so called “Kebrum”, which ensures that their users can stream videos anonymous without being tracked. They claim that they are constantly working on updates to keep their identity and the identity of the users private.
Additional features as chrome cast are also part of the things that Popcorn Time offers. Moreover, almost all the series and movies have optional subtitles.

Popcorn Time places great emphasis on the value co-creation of their system. This last is seen on every description and facts that has to do with the platform. The next picture is just an example of how they describe themselves on the “about” section of the software. popcorn time about They want to make it very clear that they are an open source project.

They are still having massive competition with streaming services like Netflix, but it’s clear that the huge supply from the illegal platform are way above the legal streaming service. The interface is considered as almost identical of the one from Netflix. The next picture shows their interface and how they integrated the ratings from IMDb into their platform. screen tracers

Although this goods point, there are still many risks, for example that the software is taken out  from the net or that the Kebrum leaks all the ip-address from the users. The original Popcorn Time couldn’t handle the amount of risk they were facing and closed the application and then made it an open source in 2014. Since then there are different versions of the application f which the most popular is the Popcorn Time. There is also the Time4Popcorn, Flixtor and Zona: the Russian version. There are people in Germany who received penalties for using the software. The legal (property right) organizations in the Netherlands are not so advanced yet and to our known are not following the users (community). Mostly they are doing research behind the “big boys”, the Popcorn Team.

Now that we have read how good and how bad the Popcorn Time is and what are its potentials. Do you think that this platform will survive the war against the law? Do you think that competition from example Netflix will be able to keep on the track with the Popcorn Time platform?


Nishikawa, H., Schreier, M., & Ogawa, S. (2012). User-generated versus designer-generated products: A performance assessment at Muji, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 30, 160–167.

Too much power?

How many times are you approached by peoples at the train station or at a restaurant with surveys asking on your opinion about the service and the company? Can you imagine that maybe in the future your answers to such surveys may influence the employees’ salary?

It’s so that HTM, the public transport company in The Hague region, has announced last week that they want to adapt their salary system such as that their customers (the travelers) could help on deciding the salary of the HTM employees. Their main idea is to empower the crowd in such an extent that the answers of the yearly “customer-satisfaction” survey (questions based on friendliness of employees, the vehicles, travel speeds etc.) will define the results: the quality of HTM’s customer service. This result will mean that for every 0.1 point increase on the customer satisfaction; will lead to a 0.2% salary increase. As for now the labor unions rejected HTM’s proposition, but they are open for negotiations.

As discussed during the lectures of customer centric and digital commerce, we can relate this kind of ideas to a huge amount of different reasoning. One of them could be the diversity trumps ability expressed on page 258 of (Majchrzak & Malhotra, 2013).  This means that a large diverse crowd of independent strangers may perform better on certain types of challenges than a small number of experts (Majchrzak & Malhotra, 2013). In addition, we can also relate it to the company goals which are for example, the relation to reduction in costs as mentioned by Fuchs & Schreier (2011).

Another nice practical example of where empowering might be going towards, is Incentro. Contrary to HTM who wants to empower their customers to some extent, gave Incentro their employees themselves the power to adapt their own wage.

This type of may be going to the direction of the name-your-own-price as expressed by Hinterhuber & Liozu, (2014). In this case I can name it: “Name-your-own-wage”.

Concluding, in the lecture about Crowdsourcing we discussed several risks and benefits for companies, employees and the customers when empowering the customer/ employees (the crowd). In addition to this last and to relate it to this post, I want to know from you, my readers: Do you think that organizations are giving the crowd too much power? Or do you think the crowd has the right to influence other decision than just the product design, aspects and applications? Would you fill in a survey on a different way when knowing that it may increase or decrease someone’s salary?


Fuchs, C., & Schreier, M. (2011). Customer empowerment in new product development. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28(1), 17-32.

Hinterhuber, A., & Liozu, S. M. (2014). Is innovation in pricing your next source of competitive advantage? Business Horizons, 57(3), 413-423.

Majchrzak, A., & Malhotra, A. (2013). Towards an information systems perspective and research agenda on crowdsourcing for innovation. Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 22(4), 257-268.

Tsekouras, D. (2015). “Lecture 3:  Ideas & Design”, Consumer-Centric Digital Commerce, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 01-04-2015.