Chromecast, Cheap, Efficient And Now Challenged

So, from what it appears, or at least as it’s written, the early adoption of Chromecast by American consumers has now cooled significantly, or at least that’s the word from Parks Associates in a widely reported study.

When Google unveiled its cheap ($35) Chromecast dongle in July  2013, it quickly sold out—I mean, quick like Bruce Springsteen concerts at Madison Square Garden--and the streaming device became Everyman’s over the top viewing device.  Number one with a bullet.

And why not? It’s cheap, and it gets Netflix and Hulu. What else is there to know?  

People who bought it use it. Three months after the introduction, Parks reported 34% of Chromecast owners streamed video from Hulu every single day, and 43% used it to watch Netflix every day. Granted, this might have only been based on their habits for a month or maybe 45 days, but still...

Now Parks says, streaming devices are in 20% of all broadband homes. Chromecast makes up 6% of the total.  The latest stories about Chromecast, however, are kind of sourpussed because, the study points out that now only 22% of Chromecast owners say that it’s the most used video device in their homes.

Man, love 'em and leave 'em.

Is the shine off of Chromecast? Possibly, though any product captures 6% of the market in less than year sounds pretty good to me. What’s more, the number of people who claim they stream at least monthly using their Chromecast dongle—that just sounds filthy!—is 73%, down from 78% from just about when it was introduced.  

I don’t really care about defending Google, but those figures have to be taken in context. If Chromecast, by its price point, is a gateway device for introducing millions of users to streaming Internet content over a TV (like Netflix seems to be as a provider of content), then I’d say it’s doing its job.

Roku makes a more complete device, while Amazon’s Kindle Fire (introduced after Chromecast) has a kind of simple-use elegance (and voice recognition) that makes Chromecast seem mighty rudimentary. But I think that was the idea—it was supposed to be a rudimentary simple device that helped create a market and now can watch it shake out. It convinces skeptical consumers streaming to a TV can be really, really easy.

But the market is shaking out, all right, and growing at a dizzying rate. Everybody from Sony and Microsoft, are nosing into the streaming set-top business. Adobe’s U. S. Video Benchmark Report says year to year, game console and over the top market share increased a ridiculous 539%.  That’s some overheating.

If you don’t think having a category’s low-cost entrant in an exploding business doesn’t mean much, check out the earlier history of McDonald’s.

In a press release, John Barrett, director of Parks consumer analytics, proclaims, “Streaming media players are starting to play a bigger role in home entertainment, but interest in new entry Google Chromecast is waning.” And that might be the headline everywhere, but it doesn’t seem to be a full picture. That picture is changing every day.

pj@mediapost.com

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2 comments about "Chromecast, Cheap, Efficient And Now Challenged ".
  1. Michael Vrh from enabledware , June 12, 2014 at 10:01 a.m.
    As we all know you need to define your personal demographic profile down to an individual and design strategies to talk to those people directly across the channels they hang out at. Maybe Google should tell the market what Chromecast is and isn't. If the market is going towards Amazon's Fire, which it is, meaning providing content then it really is limited. Knowing Google is not stupid I would think that they must have a content upgrade path coming?
  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , June 12, 2014 at 6:10 p.m.
    This seems like a good lower end market product but the marketers may not want to admit what the market is.