Roku Vs. Google: The Battle To Own Your Living Room
Every year at this time, there is a ritual trek to Vegas, where the faithful go to pray at the altar of the latest gizmos and are seduced into buying what they believe is the NEXT BIG THING.
Footnote here, I’ve been seduced more than once. During a post-CES fever dream I went to Best Buy and purchased a 3D flat-screen TV. I used it, if memory serves, one time in 3D.
So this year the screen makers were back, offering even bigger, brighter, curvier TVs for the few of us who have any wall space left.
But the real TV battle that’s heating up isn’t screens as much as its software.
Roku is a big player in TV. Roku claims one out of every three TVs sold in the U..S runs Roku software, and Roku announced at CES that it was going to get into the flat-screen business with Roku-branded TVs.
That will put the company in direct competition with brands including InFocus, Polaroid, and Walmart’s ATVIO. Those OEMs might find it a bit less appealing to have Roku both as its TV operating system and as a competitor.
This also comes at a time when Android is slowly making strides in the smart TV operating system. Remember, by the way, that Android is Google.
At CES 2023 this week, Google announced that there are now 150 million devices using Android TV OS. That’s an impressive 35% growth over 2022.
What’s funny is that the battle for the living room seems to have gone from being irrelevant as streaming grew, putting cable TV in the rear-view mirror, to critical again, as web-connected TVs now vie for your attention and your subscription dollars.
Evan Shapiro, who tracks the fast-changing world of screens and platforms, pointed last February that the connected TV business is where the action is. Said Shapiro: "The CTV ad market will generate $19.1 billion. By 2024, $29.5 billion will be spent on CTV advertising - IMHO, this number is conservative. 750 million CTVs will be sold worldwide in the next three years, creating new audiences for streaming on connected TVs and for the ads running on them.”
Max Willens, a senior analyst from eMarketer insider intelligence, wrote in November: "The majority of the US population is spending more time on streaming TV every day, and advertiser spending is following this trend. By the end of 2022, advertisers will have spent $21 billion dollars on connected TV (CTV), compared with nearly $68 billion on traditional TV. In 2025, we expect that gap to close further by another $23 billion.”
Nielsen reported that July 2022 saw streaming platforms—led by Netflix—for the first time to outpace cable to gain the largest share of U.S. TV viewing.
Richard Girges, vice president of engineering at MNTN, writing on the Mountain.com blog, explains it this way: “There’s an influx of brands rushing to CTV to accommodate the growing audience. Not only are their audiences streaming more, but CTV allows these brands to finally target and reach them.”
Girges noted that 25% of brands recently polled say that CTV is the most valuable ad channel available, and programmatic ad spend is expected to increase 39.2% in 2022, hitting $21.2 billion. “The streaming landscape is exploding,” said Girges.