The cost of premium television via Sky TV and BT TV has driven people to Kodi
Kodi Box owners turned to the illegal devices because of the price of premium television services, like BT TV and Sky.
The rising cost of premium television subscriptions including Sky TV and BT TV is the primary reason people chose to adopt Kodi Boxes, an Express.co.uk survey has revealed.
Almost 6,000 people took part in the online survey, which found that almost two-thirds of respondents (58 per cent) streamed content on Kodi because “Sky and BT TV have become too expensive”.
The findings of the survey echo a number of comments on eBay listings for Kodi Boxes.
One eBay user posted that buying an illicit streaming device had helped to “replace a well known TV company”.
Another gloated that it meant “No more Sky TV!!” – suggesting they used the Kodi Box to gain access to premium content without taking out a subscription with Sky.
According to the Express.co.uk survey, less than a third (30 per cent) or those surveyed used the open-source media player because it offered a greater choice of content.
The remaining 12 per cent claimed they streamed shows with a Kodi Box because it enabled them to access UK shows while abroad.
Customers were driven away from legitimate television providers by price
The results of the survey are clearly a blow to Sky.
However the broadcasting powerhouse has recently overhauled the prices of a number of its products.
Back in October 2016, Sky dropped the price of its flagship Sky Q satellite service.
The dramatic shake-up resulted in Sky Q becoming available to customers for as little as £20 a month. Previously, the cheapest package for Sky Q was £44 a month.
Speaking at the time, Sky said the change was designed to make the different bundles easier to understand.
It also said it wanted to make its next-generation satellite hardware more affordable, and therefore, accessible to more consumers.
Earlier this summer, the UK broadcaster unveiled the biggest shake-up to Sky Sports since its inception.
Sky Sports debuted a number of new subscription plans for its customers, with prices starting from as little as 60p a day to watch one channel.
For the first time, Sky Sports will now offer something for fans who do not want to sign-up for the full breadth of sports, but are only interested in a specific sport.
This marks a dramatic shift for in strategy Sky Sports. However, there is no proof that any of this is as a result in the increase in illegal streaming.
According to a recent report from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), research conducted by Kantar Media has found that around seven million Britons are now guilty of online piracy, with 13 per cent of those using a modified set-top box to stream copyrighted material.
That’s a significant step-up from the five million people in the UK that use pirated TV streaming services via so-called Kodi Boxes, Amazon Fire TV Chipped Sticks, and illegal streaming apps, according to YouGov data from earlier this year.
Kodi itself is not illegal – and does not offer access to pirated material out-of-the-box.
If some malware author wanted, he could easily install a watcher that reports back the user’s IP address and everything they were doing in Kodi
Kodi is a neutral, open-source media player that can be installed on a broad range of devices – from discount set-top boxes powered by Android, to known brands, like Amazon Fire TV Stick.
However, Kodi has gained an unfortunate reputation thanks to the way some third-party developers leverage the platform.
Third-party add-ons and plugins can enable access to premium television channels and copyrighted material on-demand without the right-holders’ permission.
Set-top boxes, preloaded with the Kodi media player and a whole slew of these piracy-focused add-ons, are colloquially known as Kodi Boxes.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that these third-party add-ons could be secretly siphoning – and storing – data about your viewing habits.
The third-party add-on installed on your Kodi Box to enable access to free streams of popular paid TV channels, including Sky Atlantic, Sky Sports HD and HBO, could be secretly recording your activities.
Developers’ apps and plugins for the Kodi media player can be used to silently collect and share information – including IP address and usage habits, the project manager of the Kodi foundation has cautioned.
Details of those who to illegally stream copyrighted content on Kodi could be fed back to organisations like anti-piracy groups.
According to piracy blog TorrentFreak, three popular domains previously operated by TVAddons – one of the most prominent online repositories for Kodi add-ons to stream content – is now operated by Canadian law firm, DrapeauLex.
Kodi Product Manager Nathan Betzen said the law firm could deliver rogue updates to any users who continues to use Kodi add-ons powered by updates from TVAddons.
“If some malware author wanted, he could easily install a watcher that reports back the user’s IP address and everything they were doing in Kodi,” he explained.
“If the law firm is actually an anti-piracy group, that seems like the likeliest thing I can think of.”
DrapeauLex has not revealed what it intends to do with the domains it has acquired.
The European Court of Justice – the EU’s highest court – ruled that streaming copyrighted material for free on multimedia players such as Kodi broke the law.
Downloading pirated copies of movies, music, and television shows has always constituted copyright infringement.
That’s because files that are stored temporarily – like those being created and constantly overwritten when streaming media content online – were technically exempt under copyright law.
This loophole enabled those who sold set-top boxes, like those powered by the Kodi media player software, to promote the easy facilitation of piracy via streaming.
But the landmark EU verdict means pirate streams are now on the same legal footing as illegal downloads.
Sky and BT were contacted for this story.