Roku will be acquired by another leading player next year, predicts Hub Entertainment Research.
For example, Roku could be a strong fit for Apple, because it could offer its Apple TV customers a lower-priced alternative to the Apple TV box, Hub speculates in its top TV-industry predictions for 2022.
“Roku’s efforts to catch up to competitors internationally would get a significant boost by partnering with a company already well established outside the U.S.,” says Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub.
Smart TVs begin to eclipse standalone streaming devices. Sales of standalone devices will start to decline as consumers shift to smart TVs, which are affordable, easier to set up and use, and come preloaded with streaming apps as well as social apps.
“One thing today’s viewers need more than almost anything else is a simple way to navigate and use all of their TV sources,” says Jon Giegengack, another Hub principal. “Smart TVs provide this capability right out of the box, are easy to set up, and your account info carries across all of the household’s TVs running the same operating system. No need for people to switch inputs, mess with HDMI cables or keep track of another remote.”
The pandemic has accelerated the shift: Nearly 40% of consumers surveyed by Hub in June 2021 who had a smart TV said they’d purchased it during 2020 or 2021.
More companies will create their own operating systems. More companies will join Comcast and Amazon in offering their own smart TVs and operating systems to control the start of the discovery process, collect data and serve ads.
The TV set is “poised to become its own gatekeeper, eclipsing ‘middlemen’ like broadcasters, cable providers, and more recently streamers,” observes David Tice, a Hub senior consultant.
Netflix feels the heat, as consolidation and mergers — including the expected merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia — drive unprecedented competition.
As competing media companies invest more in content and networks to save their best IP for their own platforms, Netflix will have to fight harder to maintain its position as the “home base” for streaming consumers, notes Hub.
Library/archival content will become more valuable. As the original productions arms race continues to heat up, compelling library content will be an antidote to “content inflation,” especially for large companies with lots of IP to leverage, like ViacomCBS and WarnerMedia.
While “buzzy originals” attract new subscribers, catalog shows like "Friends" and "The Office" have often out-performed originals on streaming platforms, and platforms like Pluto have acquired big user bases with very few originals, points out the research firm. “For many viewers, a good show is a good show, whether it’s brand new or just ‘new-to-me’,” says Giegengack.