Amazon’s Fire TV has overtaken Apple TV in the streaming media device race.
Apple is expected to unveil a new version of its black box next month, but a new report from Parks Associates suggests that it still has some catching up to do. The four big streaming media device brands – Amazon, Apple, Google, and Roku – now dominate the growing sector, accounting for 86 per cent of all units sold to US broadband households in 2014.
Roku continues to lead the market, with just over a third (34 per cent) of all sales last year. Google is close behind, accounting for almost a quarter (23 per cent). Amazon, the newest entrant in the race, has already overtaken the more established Apple, thanks to a heavy push for both its Fire TV box and the cheaper Fire TV stick. Indeed, when the device launched in the UK, the online retailer heralded it as its best-selling device ever.
There is still hope for Apple, though: while Roku devices are the most used among households that own a streaming media device at 37 per cent – followed by Google Chromecast at 19 per cent – Apple TV is used more often by more people than Amazon’s Fire TV (17 per cent versus 14 per cent), which suggests that the iTunes platform compatibility still holds some sway.
There is also room for overlap among consumers, who are not afraid to spread their streaming around: nearly 20 per cent of US broadband households own at least one streaming media player, such as a Roku 3, Amazon Fire TV, or Apple TV. 8 per cent own at least one streaming stick, such as a Google Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV Stick. 2 per cent own both big and small devices.
The sector, meanwhile, is still going strong. 86 million streaming media devices will be sold globally in 2019, forecasts the report, with Apple’s presence within the dominant group means that it is in a good position to see off competition from any new contenders.
Barbara Kraus, Director of Research, Parks Associates, comments: “The market consolidation around these four brands forces new entrants to develop more creative features and functionality to tap into the strong consumer demand for streaming content. Devices with additional functionality such as the Intel Compute Stick may be a sign of things to come, where streaming is not the primary function but an extra feature to provide additional value.”
“Device shipments and sales receipts are important performance measures, but an equally critical metric for device makers is ongoing usage,” Kraus adds. “Usage will drive alternate revenue streams such as content sales and advertising.”