Set-Top Box Sellers, Unlicensed Video Services, and File Hosts Profiting Most
Waterloo, ON; May 4, 2017 – Sandvine, (TSX:SVC) a leading provider of intelligent broadband network solutions for fixed and mobile operators, today released a Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight focusing on the “fully-loaded” Kodi ecosystem in North America. The report is based on data collected from multiple tier-1 fixed access networks in North America and examines the mechanics and economics of using Kodi to access what many content owners believe to be unlicensed live and on-demand video content.
Kodi (formerly known as XBMC) is an open source media player that allows users to view local and remote videos on PCs, set-top boxes, smartphones, and tablets. Recently, the Kodi name has become increasingly associated with streaming of unlicensed content thanks to the availability of “fully-loaded” Kodi set-top boxes. These set-top boxes are sold online and in retail stores with versions of Kodi that contain unofficial “Add-ons” and modifications designed to drastically lower the technical know-how required to access unlicensed live and on-demand video content.
The report also seeks to correct the misconception that Kodi and its developers, the XBMC Foundation, are the primary beneficiaries in an ecosystem of streaming unlicensed content. The major beneficiaries of this new form of piracy appear to be parties in the ecosystem that are selling the “fully-loaded” hardware, unlicensed streaming services, and hosting services for monetary gain. Even absent the Kodi software, this ecosystem would still be in place and unlicensed video content still accessible via web browsers and other media players.
Sandvine’s Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight: The “Fully-Loaded” Kodi Ecosystem contains some revelatory facts, the highlights of which include:
- 8.8% of North American households have at least one device in their household with an active Kodi installation
- 68.6% of households with Kodi devices also have unofficial Add-ons configured to access unlicensed content
- Approximately 6% of all households in North America, currently have a Kodi device configured to access unlicensed content
- ”Fully-loaded” Kodi boxes can access unlicensed content for free, as well as premium services featuring larger amounts of unlicensed content for a monthly fee
“Kodi is often referred to by name as the root of the unlicensed content streaming problem, but the true roots of the problem appear to be the illegitimate video service providers and file hosts who are making a profit by enabling access to unlicensed content,” said Don Bowman, CTO, Sandvine. “Sandvine’s business intelligence tools can help communications service providers to measure and track not only the applications being used to access unlicensed video content but more importantly to understand the origin of unlicensed content so that they can work with law enforcement to ensure that their license rights are upheld.”
The Global Internet Phenomena Spotlight on the “fully-loaded” Kodi Ecosystem is available for download from the “Fraud” Trends page on Sandvine.com.
Sandvine’s network policy control solutions add intelligence to fixed, mobile and converged communications service provider networks, to increase revenue, reduce network costs and improve subscriber quality of experience. Our networking solutions perform end-to-end policy control functions, including traffic classification, policy decision, and enforcement. Deployed as virtualized network functions or on Sandvine’s purpose-built hardware, the products provide actionable business insight, and the ability to deploy new consumer and business subscriber services, optimize and secure network traffic, and engage with subscribers.
Sandvine’s network policy control solutions are deployed in more than 300 networks in over 100 countries, serving hundreds of millions of data subscribers worldwide. www.sandvine.com.
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