Carving a Niche Among Giants

It’s an interesting time for consumer video delivery. How many streaming devices are there? What do users think of all these subscriptions? With entertainment goliaths entering the space, things just got quite a bit more crowded.

Or did they?

Gargantuan Ad Spends

Personally, whether I’m on my phone, computer, or TV – it seems like every screen I look at lately I see an ad for either Disney+ or Apple TV+. Also, it’s a bit uncanny they both chose the “+” nomenclature formula.

Disney+ Promo On ABC 7 News

Going through the comments on these ads is particularly insightful. Relevant comment algorithms love favoring controversy, so it’s no surprise to see a mix of fifty-fifty reviews… some people are praising, others loathe. 

Varied Features from Device to Device

It seems many customers are disappointed in the feature set for their particular device. According to user reports, some platforms are missing key features that video platform app users have come to expect like a “continue watching” or “resume” feature. Netflix has groomed many of us into a belief of what a video streaming platform should be. When familiar features seem to have been left out, these unmet expectations are quite disappointing for the consumer.

Differing user experiences from device to device leave some feeling like they are missing out. Even though they’re paying the same subscription price as everyone else, the app varies depending on what Operating System it was developed for. This can leave users frustrated when the app built for their device is lacking features.

Even worse, some users can’t download the app at all because it’s not available on their device. 

Listening to the Feedback

On a Disney+ Facebook ad comment Leslie writes “Unless you have a smart tv that is not compatible. Woohoo! Thanks, no thanks.” (Nov. 13, 2019) 

"Unless you have a smart tv that is not compatible. Woohoo! Thanks, no thanks."

“Just buy a Roku TV or Fire TV…”

Sure, there are many brands of Smart TVs, but with an unveiling of this scale, from a company as monumental as Disney, one would think they’d have all bases covered. 

Leslie received many replies to her comment from people like Jay who make it sound easy, “Just buy a Roku TV or Fire TV…” Another user pointed out that these options are cheap, now just $30.

And this is true, streaming devices are gaining massive popularity due to low friction price points and highly desired features like 4K, voice command, and Smart Home integration.

How many streaming devices are Roku?

Roku has earned its position as the best selling streaming device in the US with 41 million devices (source: Strategy Analytics). Roku is leading the pack in this metric partly due to being first-to-market, but also largely due to securing many manufacturing partnerships.

Roku comes as the preinstalled operating system on many big-name smart TV brands like Sharp, TCL, Insignia, JVC, Hitachi, and Philips.

How many streaming devices 2019, United States
At VidType we anticipate Amazon Fire TV will surpass Roku in 2020 for total devices in the US.

How many streaming devices are Fire TV?

Amazon has earned its position in the market with 34 million devices in the US. This is without a doubt largely due to their massive, already existing customer base, and cross-platform Smart Home perks like having Alexa on your TV. Can your Roku dim the lights and change the temperature of the room with a voice command?

How many streaming devices are Apple TV?

At first glance, it appears Apple TV is far behind with just 13 million streaming TV devices in the US… but this is only true if you choose to ignore the fact that they have the most popular phone and tablet in the United States. That’s a lot of streaming devices.

Mobiles were conveniently left out of the Strategy Analytics survey… but it doesn’t take machine learning to realize that hundreds of millions of people are streaming video on their phones and tablets. To only include TV devices in the statistics is misleading because many people’s primary video viewing device is their phone.

What about Value Per User?

According to the study, Apple TV has only sold roughly a third of the units as Roku in the US. However, at $149 for the entry-level Apple TV, the price point is 5 times higher. This makes it clear that Apple TV users are premium users and are looking for a better quality experience and are willing to pay for it. 

Quality of Developers matters, too

How many streaming devices sold is just one metric to analyze. In addition to having a higher quality user base, the developer pool for Apple TV is much more refined compared to Roku. One of the reasons Roku has become so popular is also one of its downfalls: the barrier of entry for developers is quite low… just about anyone can make a Roku channel. Apple TV apps tend to come with an extra coat of polish that many Roku and Fire TV apps are lacking. 

A Recipe for Success

The LA Times reported more than 10 million people signed up for Disney+ within the first 24 hours. At $6.99 per month, this is no small feat. And it’s no surprise either… A trove of beloved content at a low price point, plus a big ad spend is a recipe for success. 

However, at some point, are consumers going to have enough of these micropayment subscriptions? Sure, by itself it’s not an expensive monthly payment, but when viewers subscribe to multiple platforms, add sports packages, add a music streaming service, and include the high-speed Internet connection that’s required to make it all happen, all of a sudden it adds up quickly.

Is this an opportunity for non-subscription based apps, monetized through advertising to shine?

Know Your Audience, Own Your Audience

One thing is clear, there is a very high demand for quality content. No matter how many streaming devices there are, no matter how many apps… As a video producer/curator, the best way to cut through the noise and compete with behemoths like Netflix and Disney is to cultivate a highly targeted audience and deliver an exclusive video product your viewers can’t find anywhere else. 

We’re Expanding Platforms

At VidType we’ve been busy improving our product line. Keeping up with how many streaming devices there are… We now have offerings on all major platforms including Roku, Fire TV (firestick), Android, Android TV, Chromecast, Apple TV and iOS. 

Whether you want to charge your viewers a monthly subscription or generate revenue through ads, we’ve got your tech covered. 

Video Player with Modern Web Features

We’ve added new features like Offline Viewing. This allows your viewers to tap a button to download a video in the background, making the video viewable within the app, even without an internet connection. This is a highly desired feature, perfect for flights, long car rides, or simply when you want to save favorites and limit data consumption. 

Another one of our recent developments is the ability to add custom URL buttons on top of your videos. In addition to traditional video player buttons like pause, volume, full screen, you can now easily overlay your own buttons directly on top of the video itself. All of a sudden each of your videos has the capability of click-through calls to action. This means you can send traffic to landing pages, eCommerce, social media, or any URL you want.

In all reality, this is another completely legitimate way to monetize. 

We’re Here to Help

If you’re wondering how to make an Apple TV app, how to launch your own Roku channel, or how to create an Amazon Fire TV show… let us answer the questions for you. In a space of seemingly endless options, we make it easy. The best part, you can manage channels on all major platforms from one place, using just a web browser. 

If you have any questions about creating your own video streaming app, we’re here to help inform you of your options.

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