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State of the Screens

A New Front Emerges In The Streaming Wars

By July 23, 2020November 15th, 2021No Comments

Big News: Both Peacock and HBO Max launched without apps on Roku or Amazon Fire TV.

Why this matters: Roku and Amazon each have 35M+ users in the U.S. and would impact subscriber growth for any service missing from either platform.

Quote from Anthony Wood – CEO @ Roku:
“We’re an essential partner for any streaming service trying to build an audience in the United States.” 

CTV/OTT users by platform in the U.S., according to eMarketer:
Smart TV – 57M
Roku – 47M
Amazon Fire TV – 35M
Game Console – 34M
Google Chromecast – 16M
Blue-Ray Player – 13M
Apple TV – 12M

Share of CTV viewing time in 2020-Q1 according to Hedgeye:
1) Roku – 44%
2) Fire TV – 19%
3) XBOX – 10%
4) Apple TV – 8%
5) Other – 7%
6) Chromecast – 6%
7) Playstation – 5%
8) Samsung – 1%

Big question #1: What is this dispute all about?

Quick answer: Money.  This is no different than past carriage disputes between a TV network and a pay-TV provider.

What Roku wants:
1) 30% 
of subscription revenue
2) 30% of ad inventory
3) Content for Roku Channel (ad-supported streaming) from WarnerMedia and/or NBCUniversal (see Disney+ deal)

What Amazon wants:
1) 15-45% 
of subscription revenue
2) Content for IMDB (ad-supported streaming) from WarnerMedia and/or NBCUniversal

Big question #2: Will this cause customer confusion?

Quick answer: Yes.

Example #1: Edmund Lee from the New York Times breaks down how a current HBO subscriber would access HBO Max.

Example #2: EMC Capital maps out which platforms each streaming service is available on.

More #1: The War for Your Living Room: Here Comes Google, Watch Out Roku, Amazon and Apple

More #2: Shut out of Fire TV and Roku, Peacock is the latest example of the arrival power moves to streaming

Michael Beach

Michael Beach

Michael Beach is the Chief Executive Officer of Cross Screen Media, a media analytics and software company that enables marketers to plan, activate, and measure CTV and linear TV at the local level. Michael is also the founder and editor of State of the Screens, a weekly newsletter focused on video advertising that is a must-read for thought leaders in the advertising industry. He has appeared in such publications as PBS Frontline, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Axios, CNBC and Bloomberg, and on NPR’s Planet Money podcast.

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