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England's top soccer league has scored a court order against rights-infringing streams on Kodi set-top boxes, the BBC reports.
The order enables the Premier League to block these streams at the server-level, whereas before it would only block individual video streams, which were easy to re-establish on a new URL.
Kodi is a free, open-source software that plays multimedia content onto a single interface. It turns any device into a media player, with apps that stream files from the internet, and is often sold as a pre-loaded feature on set-top boxes or TV sticks. The Kodi player is not restricted by licensing agreements or other guidelines that govern commercial streaming services and app stores.
The software itself is legal but can be modified to provide access to copyrighted material. That includes pirated music, films, TV shows, and free access to subscription video services. In a survey commissioned by Irdeto, a security firm, cited by the BBC, 11% of people in the UK who admitted to watching illegal streams said they used a Kodi box to do so.
Illegal soccer streams are a bane for stakeholders in professional sports entertainment:
- Leagues. The supply of free, illegal streams pushes down prices on these copyright holders’ broadcast and sponsorship deals. In 2015, the Premier League sold a record £5.1 billion ($6.2 billion) in broadcast rights to Sky and BT Sports for the three seasons spanning 2016-2017.
- Broadcasters. Illegal streams call into question the value of broadcast rights deals with leagues. They can also curb subscription revenues, by encouraging consumers to cut the cord. Meanwhile, lower viewership as measured on traditional media restricts their negotiating power with advertisers.
- Advertisers. Like broadcasters, these parties lose the ability to cull and track data on TV audiences when viewers go ‘underground’ and resort to illegal streams. This undermines their ability to deliver targeted and effective ads, hampering ROI on their campaigns.
Discussions of whether the law should be updated to tackle Kodi boxes are also ongoing. The UK’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is holding a number of meetings on the subject and has published a report on its consultations about the use of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) boxes, set-top boxes, Android TV boxes, and Kodi boxes to stream content illegally.
Over the last few years, there’s been much talk about the “death of TV.” However, television is not dying so much as it's evolving: extending beyond the traditional television screen and broadening to include programming from new sources accessed in new ways.
It's strikingly evident that more consumers are shifting their media time away from live TV, while opting for services that allow them to watch what they want, when they want. Indeed, we are seeing a migration toward original digital video such as YouTube Originals, SVOD services such as Netflix, and live streaming on social platforms.
However, not all is lost for legacy media companies. Amid this rapidly shifting TV landscape, traditional media companies are making moves across a number of different fronts — trying out new distribution channels, creating new types of programming aimed at a mobile-first audience, and partnering with innovate digital media companies. In addition, cable providers have begun offering alternatives for consumers who may no longer be willing to pay for a full TV package.
Dylan Mortensen, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, has compiled a detailed report on the future of TV that looks at how TV viewer, subscriber, and advertising trends are shifting, and where and what audiences are watching as they turn away from traditional TV.
Here are some key points from the report:
- Increased competition from digital services like Netflix and Hulu as well as new hardware to access content are shifting consumers' attention away from live TV programming.
- Across the board, the numbers for live TV are bad. US adults are watching traditional TV on average 18 minutes fewer per day versus two years ago, a drop of 6%. In keeping with this, cable subscriptions are down, and TV ad revenue is stagnant.
- People are consuming more media content than ever before, but how they're doing so is changing. Half of US TV households now subscribe to SVOD services, like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, and viewing of original digital video content is on the rise.
- Legacy TV companies are recognizing these shifts and beginning to pivot their business models to keep pace with the changes. They are launching branded apps and sites to move their programming beyond the TV glass, distributing on social platforms to reach massive, young audiences, and forming partnerships with digital media brands to create new content.
- The TV ad industry is also taking a cue from digital. Programmatic TV ad buying represented just 4% (or $2.5 billion) of US TV ad budgets in 2015 but is expected to grow to 17% ($10 billion) by 2019. Meanwhile, networks are also developing branded TV content, similar to publishers' push into sponsored content.
In full, the report:
- Outlines the shift in consumer viewing habits, specifically the younger generation.
- Explores the rise of subscription streaming services and the importance of original digital video content.
- Breaks down ways in which legacy media companies are shifting their content and advertising strategies.
- And Discusses new technology that will more effectively measure audiences across screens and platforms.
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