Are Roku's Rivals Coming? The Market Thinks So

Although Roku has a big lead over the streaming marketplace in terms of its set-top-box players and its deals, which put its platform technology on TV sets, the competition is coming.

But the who, when and where questions keep analysts guessing.

Amazon Fire TV isn’t that far behind in terms of monthly active users -- the mid-50 million range for both companies. But analysts assume many more will follow.

We wonder about the Comcasts, Charters and perhaps the DirecTVs of the world.

Both Comcast and Charter seem to have considered the idea with specific beta-like efforts in recent years -- especially when it comes to adding streaming platforms to their traditional TV platforms.

The market may still believe it's coming. Roku’s stock price is down 33% over the past six months. Its Monday closing was $230.98.

For Roku, analysts believe its success comes from having the right mix of new streaming platforms (premium streaming individual apps) and traditional TV platforms (virtual pay TV providers).



For many consumers, having a more primary service for the bulk of their TV needs is a good deal. Nearly 60 million active users might attest to this.

Still, Michael Nathanson, co-founder of MoffettNathanson Research, believes Roku might be seeing a slowdown soon.

“Competitors have picked up on their success, and will start mimicking that,” he said on CNBC. He alluded to smart TV manufacturers' platforms in the hunt -- the Vizios and Samsungs of the world.

But he also talked up the battle for overall market share of TV viewership as being a factor -- major established companies that have content coming through Roku devices. This logic led MoffettNathanson to issue a “sell” notice for Roku’s stock.

Perhaps it is why Roku is looking to get into content, adding some 50 originals to push expansion.

This has been done before. TV distributors in the past -- such as satellite TV provider DirecTV, as well as cable operators Comcast and Charter -- have started niche entertainment and content channels.

But most were just modest experiments in seeing where it would take them. Given that virtually all pay TV providers have some sort of advertising sales operations, doing this type of low-cost content approach offers little risk. Those companies also have other businesses to count on.

For Roku, it’s a different story. It found a way to carve out a niche TV product and service, enabling it to swim with big sharks. Are those bigger fish ready to take the big bite?

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