Amazon is kicking everyone’s butt in the streaming wars

When the Chromecast debuted in 2013, it was a legitimate revolution: an incredibly cheap, incredibly simple gadget that lets you send all the streaming video on your phone directly to your TV. But in the years since, Google has lost ground in the set-top box market in almost every metric. The biggest winner at the moment is, unquestionably, Amazon.

According to an annual survey of the smart TV and streaming box market conducted by Park Associates, Amazon’s Fire TV platform has grown from just 12% of the market in 2015 to 36% in the first quarter of this year, a steadily growing market. Taking the stake away. all the contestants. The only streaming provider in the same league is Roku, up 36% as of this year, though Roku is also slowly losing ground in 2020 and 2021.

By comparison, Google’s slice of the pie shrank over the past five years, from 21% of the market in 2016 to just 8%. (Android TV in particular is not on the list, but even though it is included in “Others”, it has lost market share.) Apple has also shrunk, with more slowly but less losing, And is currently beating Google with 12% of the market for Apple TV.

There are many reasons why Amazon and Roku dominate the market. First and foremost is availability: both companies have focused heavily on getting their respective software built into smart TVs from multiple manufacturers, in fact the “default” smart TV operating system has become the way Android phones work. does. This is especially true for smaller, cheaper sets that sell in quantity. Google has tried similar things for years, with only moderate success. On top of that, Roku and Fire TV standalone hardware is available more or less everywhere dirt-cheap. Amazon gets a big boost from being able to promote its own hardware on its ubiquitous online store, and Roku is making progress by partnering with Onn, Walmart’s house brand, for home theater equipment with built-in Roku streaming. Still working.

This Walmart-branded Roku soundbar is now on 4000+ store shelves across the US.

And both Amazon and Roku are throwing their streaming weights around. Last year was a remarkable kerfuffle as Warner Bros.’s brand new premiere streaming service, HBO Max, was unavailable on any platform for months, until some concessions were made behind closed doors. Roku is also having a fight with Google over data on the YouTube TV service. Advertising and subscription revenues are substantial for a smart TV platform, even for a large company like Amazon, to say nothing of the value of metric data on audience habits.

Google is trying to make a comeback. In addition to a more comprehensive, Fire TV-style interface in the latest Chromecast, which is now more of a “Google TV” device than just a remote streaming stick, the company is partnering to pre-load Google TV/Android TV . more TV. A recent win was the launch of a cheap Google TV streaming box at Walmart, again using the Onn House brand. But any way you look at it, Google has a lot to make up for.

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