Kodi; A Sinking Ship?

Online Streaming

The conventional entertainment mediums like TV, Radio are no longer major players in the game. Times are changing and the paradigms have shifted quite drastically as the number of internet users has increased significantly worldwide.

Source: https://www.statista.com/statistics/325706/global-internet-user-penetration/

This graph is showing the increase in internet users worldwide.

Judging from these stats, we can understand that people have started adapting the digital trend. Social Media channel users have also increased remarkably.

 

Online streaming is the new trend and people have started shifting to online mediums for entertainment!

Online streaming of videos started gaining popularity during the years 2005 to 2010. Services like YouTube and Netflix became the flag bearer of providing online streaming platforms to internet users.

During the same period, services like Hulu and Amazon Prime came into existence and caught the eye of western internet users, despite Hulu and Amazon Prime being US dedicated streaming services which could not be accessed outside US. These geo-restrictions are still intact to date but their global popularity is at such peak that people from all around the world access these services by bypassing the restrictions.

Many new online streaming services have emerged over the last 5 years and have captured the market amazingly. People from all around the world now opt for online streaming services rather than sitting in front of their TVs.

Smart TVs were launched for better entertainment; people still prefer online streaming because of the convenience and reasonable pricing. Here are a few online streaming services that you can try:

  1. Hulu
  2. Sling TV
  3. DirecTV Now
  4. Amazon Prime
  5. Fubo TV
  6. Netflix
  7. CBS All Access

All of these services offer high-quality content like Movies, TV shows, and people can even watch Live Sports through these services. These services require paid subscriptions and many of them are geo-restricted.

These media streaming services paved way for some amazing and groundbreaking media streaming software that allows users to watch their favorite content, like:

  1. Kodi
  2. Plex
  3. Popcorn Time
  4. Streamio
  5. Usher

Kodi – A major player in the online streaming industry

Kodi; an open-source online media streaming software was designed and developed by XBMC. It was released 14 years ago by the name of Xbox Media Centre and later its name was changed to Kodi.

The source code of Kodi has been written in Python and C++ programming languages. Kodi is a cross-platform software that is compatible with various platforms and devices like:

  1. Android
  2. Windows
  3. Linux
  4. Mac, iOS
  5. tvOS
  6. Amazon FireStick and FireTV
  7. Roku
  8. NVidia Shield

Kodi has a very interactive and easy to use interface, allowing users to stream their favorite content from anywhere, anytime. Its streaming protocol is unique as the online streaming services have channels for streaming; it has different Kodi add-ons

to stream with. These add-ons are of different categories and type, each having a unique interface and quality and purpose.

Kodi add-ons allow users to stream Movies, TV shows, Music, Sports, Live TV, Cartoons, Pay-per-views etc. There are content specific Kodi add-ons as well which stream a certain content category only, allowing users to choose what they want and then there are some Kodi add-ons that provide streams for a variety of content categories.

This uniqueness of Kodi made a great impact in the online streaming industry and Kodi earned a great name for itself through the years. Kodi kept on updating and its reputation grew simultaneously.

The reason behind Kodi’s fame was obvious that users got to stream their favorite content without opening their browsers simply through a software on their device. This provided great convenience to users and Kodi became a leader in its domain.

Add-on types

One thing to understand over here that there are official Kodi add-ons as well unofficial (third-party) Kodi add-ons.

Legit developers develop the official Kodi add-ons and the content they provide is licensed. The streams provided by these add-ons are legal to use as the user pays a certain subscription fee for streaming that content.

On the other hand, Unofficial Kodi add-ons are developed by third-party developers and are not recognized by any authority. The content provided by these add-ons is not officially licensed as they scrap it through different providers and sites and offer it to the users, without the consent of content owners. Such content streaming is considered illegal because it is a direct violation of intellectual property laws and it is an open copyright infringement.

The legal nature of the content is the biggest difference between these add-ons. Add-on features and add-on accessibility also differ in these add-ons because official Kodi add-ons are developed genuinely be organizations and they have great support staff to handle and update them. While third-party Kodi add-ons are developed by freelancing developers which are not skilled up to that par.

This why official Kodi add-ons do not have bugs and errors but the unofficial Kodi add-ons have a lot of bugs and errors and users get to face various types of errors while streaming or accessing such add-ons. Unofficial add-ons keep on crashing and many of the add-ons fail to stay over time.

Statistics

There are more than 38 million Kodi users around the world as of now and this is an achievement for Kodi through the years.

On the other hand, There are hundreds of official Kodi add-ons and more thousands of unofficial Kodi add-ons.

Piracy and Copyright infringement concerns

Kodi kept soaring through the sky but eventually its fame caught authorities’ eye and they started digging into it. The major part of Kodi’s fame goes to the unofficial Kodi add-ons which allowed users to watch whatever they wanted through the pirated streams.

Everyday a new add-on keeps on emerging, providing free streams for sports, movies, TV shows etc. However, the rate of add-on releases and add-on shut downs is getting to equal level.

When the bubble of piracy blew, Kodi started facing a lot of criticism by the online streaming community, privacy advocates and authorities. Numerous add-ons were shut down and others were sent legal notices pertaining to their practices.

It got even worse when big names like Hollywood, MPAA, UK Court, English premier League, Sky TV NZ and many other piracy trolls jumped into the scene.

When the President of Kodi was asked about the number of Kodi users, he refused by saying:

“Unfortunately I do not have an up to date number on users, and because we don’t watch what our users are doing, we have no way of knowing how many do what with regards to streaming. [The MPAA’s] numbers could be completely correct or totally made up. We have no real way to know.”

He further added:

“The addon system gives us the opportunity to measure the popularity of addons, measure user base, estimate the frequency that people update their systems, and even, ultimately, help users find the more popular add-ons”

Source: TechRadar

According to the Copyright Alliance, out of 38 million users of Kodi, 68.5% users are using illegal Kodi add-ons; which numbers up to 26 million users. This is indeed a concerning point as more than half of the Kodi users are involved in piracy.

The Crackdown

Authorities struck all the illegal Kodi add-ons with full force one by one. The first add-on repository to face the crackdown was TVAddons; the repository having the largest library of unofficial (illegal) Kodi add-ons.

Moreover, pre-loaded Kodi boxes were termed illegal by UK court and by authorities of different countries. Following the ban on the sale of Kodi boxes, many arrests have been made and many users and developers have received DMCA notices.

Many highly renowned unofficial Kodi add-on developers like Ares Wizard, Mr.Blamo. Illuminati, Terrarium TV Colossus, and a few others have shut down because they were under heavy pressure of the authorities and they had received DMCA notices and ACE notices.

Even the word “Kodi” was removed from the auto-complete search suggestions by Google. This is indeed a discouraging factor for both the Kodi users and Kodi developers.

The shutdown of repositories and add-ons created a great havoc as users who were using those add-ons and repositories were left helpless. All they could do was, search for alternate repositories and if they were lucky they found one. However, many add-ons are hosted by their original repositories and when such repositories are shut down, it is near to impossible to find an alternative to that.

Many repositories and add-ons bounce back from such crackdowns but that is a rare case. You can take Kodi Israel repository as an example which went down a few months ago due to unknown reasons. This repository had almost all the popular add-ons in it and its absence was felt by the whole community because many users were relying on it. Nevertheless, it bounced right back a few weeks ago with a new URL and the users are back on streaming track. Same was the case with UKodi and many other repositories but not every repository or add-on is that lucky.

Many developers give up their struggle because of such crackdowns because it leaves them heartbroken. The shutdown of Terrarium TV is a recent example as the last message of its lead developer depicted clearly that he has given up his project after being highly pressurized by the authorities.

The beef within the industry

Anti-piracy authorities had their eyes set on the illegal activities of Kodi add-ons and they kept monitoring everything very closely. When online streaming services like Netflix and Amazon jumped into the campaign against illegal Kodi add-ons, the crackdown gained momentum.

Authorities aside, there are lobbies existing within the Kodi community. One of the most prominent victims per se is TVAddons. It is one of the most popular unofficial Kodi add-on developers and has its own repository.

TVAddons faced some shutdowns and legal notices in the past but despite all the heat, it is still online and has a lot of fan base. TVAddons posted a blog about its case with the court and it began with this statement:

TV ADDONS is being sued by Canada’s biggest telecom providers: Bell, Videotron, Rogers, and TVA. They never sent us a takedown notice, despite being required by law. We never hosted nor directly linked to any type of protected content. Less than 1% of the total Kodi add-ons we indexed were even accused of being “infringing.” Nonetheless, they seek to destroy our community and don’t care whose rights they violate in the process. They attempted to get us to shut down while a civil lawsuit takes place, but justice prevailed and TV ADDONS won big in court. We thought everything was fine until they managed to manipulate the law to keep us down anyway…

Here is a screenshot of the traffic that TVAddons posted on its blog last year:

That is all about TVAddons profile but now let us take a look at the beef that some bloggers and tech review writers have against TVAddons:

 

These are just random bloggers and tech reviewers commenting against TVAddons. However, another beef was seen earlier this year between the new emerging Kodi addon developers with the existing and established Kodi developers.

There are developers who believe that making revenue from these add-ons is hurting the sentiments of Kodi community. On the other hand, the other party believes that their effort deserves to be paid and they deserve to be paid for the risk they are taking by providing copyrighted content free.

Kodi trend Declining

It has been noticed over the last few months that the trend of Kodi is declining by time. This is a concerning matter for both the Kodi community as well as for the content producers.

 

Kodi is one of the most potential market for online streaming content distributors and producers. The main reasons for diminishing Kodi trend is not yet known but according to streaming gurus, this might be because of the increasing piracy crackdowns against Kodi addons.

Kodi has been a dominant streaming software for years and no other streaming platform was able to outrun it by last year. However, tables seem to be turning as the decline in its trend has given a major advantage to online streaming platforms like Hulu to capitalize the market share.

Kodi is one of the most potential market for online streaming content distributors and producers. The main reasons for diminishing Kodi trend is not yet known but according to streaming gurus, this might be because of the increasing piracy crackdowns against Kodi addons.

Kodi has been a dominant streaming software for years and no other streaming platform was able to outrun it by last year. However, tables seem to be turning as the decline in its trend has given a major advantage to online streaming platforms like Hulu to capitalize the market share.

As you can see, by the end of 2017, the trend of Hulu was no way near Kodi but by the mid of 2018 it has outrun Kodi. Hulu is one of the leading online streaming platforms and such comparative statistics infer that maybe the days of Kodi dominance are over.

Many online streaming geeks believe that if the trend keeps on falling at this pace and if these crackdowns do not slow down or stop, then we might soon see the demise of Kodi’s reign or even its presence.

Kodi has been a center of attention, facing both the criticism and praise at the same time. However, the image of Kodi has been damaged very much due to the negative news and feedbacks. Kodi developers have stepped up in this time and they are trying to reunite the Kodi community and rebuild its reputation through different social forums.

 

What’s next for Kodi

Kodi still has a lot of potential within itself and opportunities in the industry as the industry is blooming day by day. To regain its momentum, Kodi team will have to make sure that they clear the mist of piracy allegations that has covered them and come out as clean as they can.

Strong usage monitoring is required to control the use of Kodi add-ons and ensure that the add-ons used are not engaging in any copyright infringement. This is the only way they can regain their reputation that has been highly shattered.

Still, no one can deny the fact that Kodi has reached to this level because of the third-party Kodi add-ons but this is the need of the time and they will have to take major steps against piracy, ultimately.

The unity of Kodi community can also be a very promising factor in the re-growth of Kodi bit we will have to wait and see that. During this period, other online streaming services will keep on increasing their market share and to beat this, Kodi will surely have to come up with something better and innovative.

Fingers crossed!

Heart of the Matter

Kodi has been a flying fortress, having reigned media streaming industry for quite some time now. However, the days for Kodi seems to be drawing near, as the trend keeps on declining day by day. It has raised many eyebrows and questions are being raised about the potential of Kodi and its sustainability.

Kodi is already in deep waters of piracy allegations and its legal standings have been highly questioned despite many clarifications already put forward by the Kodi team itself.

The crackdowns are increasing by time and due to these third-party add-ons, Kodi is suffering. Authorities are now tightening their grip more on online piracy and that is not totally focused on Kodi but other free online streaming services and torrents are also in the crosshairs of the anti-piracy authorities.

It is indeed a crucial time for Kodi and the community and will have to wait and see how rough the sea stays for Kodi as the next few months might turn out to be conclusive.

 

Arsalan Rathore
Arsalan Rathore

Arsalan Saif Uddin Rathore is a business graduate and an experienced marketing professional. He has worked with multiple research think-tanks, NGOs and global organizations. Arsalan has been writing on technology and miscellaneous topics since 2013 and likes to provide a neutral and worthy insight to his readers. Besides being a writer, Arsalan is a Football player, Hunting & Trekking lover and Online Streaming Geek.
Latest Postsby Arsalan Rathore
1337x Torrents – 7 Best 1337x Proxy and Mirror Sites (100% Working As of 2018) 25 Limetorrents Proxy and Torrent Mirror Sites 100% Working Kickass Torrents – 7 Best KAT Mirror and Proxy Sites (100% Working)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *