The streaming wars aren’t just about which service can crank out the best content or offer the best packages. Much of the success (or demise) of streaming hinges upon the new market for streaming devices such as smart TVs or dedicated streaming boxes. Nearly every major tech giant has released their own version of a streaming device, offering cable cutters a wide range of options. Just recently, a clear leader seems to have emerged from the pack: Roku.
According to new data gathered by media research firm eMarketer, Roku devices are growing in popularity much faster than its closest competitors. eMarketer’s figures show that 38.9 million American households use a Roku device at least once a month to access streaming video. 36.9 million reported using Chromecast, 35.8 million used Amazon Fire TV devices, while just 21.3 million reported streaming through Apple TV.
Paul Verna, principal video analyst at eMarketer, released a statement claiming that Roku’s popularity is likely due to the fact that Roku is somewhat of a ‘free agent’ in the streaming world, able to strike agreements with any major streaming service or video provider:
As the only major market participant not affiliated with a content or TV device platform, Roku has used its neutrality to strike deals with a wide range of partners, including smart TV makers, OTT service providers and social media companies. That expansive strategy, combined with the company’s broad selection of connectivity devices at various price points, has put Roku at the head of the pack.
It’s not just Roku that the data show is on the rise; eMarketer predicts 168.1 million people in the US will stream video using an internet-connected TV in 2017 a 10.1% increase from last year. Smart TVs, in particular, are expected to gain traction among cable cutters, possibly topping 81 million users in 2017.