Parks: Roku owns 44% of the U.S. OTT device market

Expanding its dominance of the U.S. over-the-top device marketplace, Roku is now the most widely used streaming media player in 44 percent of American homes that watch online video through their living room TV.

New research from Parks Associates polling 10,000 broadband-equipped consumers provides important information to pay TV operators, who are looking to prioritize their multiscreen app development to the OTT devices consumers use most. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of pay-TV subscribers have at least one device connected to their TV, according to Parks, an increase from 53 percent in 2013.

The new report, titled The Evolving Market for Streaming Media Devices, details Roku's expanded dominance of the OTT device market, having controlled 37 percent of it when the same report was issued in 2013.

Roku devices and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) TVs account for 72 percent of streaming media device sales in the U.S. in 2013. Apple TV is the second most popular device in the U.S., registering predominant use in 26 percent of OTT homes.

"Multiple factors have allowed Roku to outpace Apple in U.S. sales and usage," said Barbara Kraus, director, research, Parks Associates. "Roku has always had a close association with Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), the largest source of video downloads, and currently offers more than 1,700 channel apps as well as a choice of models with different features and price points, all of which appeal to consumers' purchasing instincts. With Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) entering this CE category, there will be renewed pressure on all players to develop the best combination of 'can't miss' content with a simple and intuitive interface. "

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) sold an estimated 3.8 million Chromecast units in the U.S. in 2013, Parks said, while noting that both Chromecast "usage and frequency of usage" have declined since its launch.

Notable: Using different methodologies, measuring only usage by those who have kept their Chromecast live and connected after its ragged initial development phase, Google is finding that usage is way up. Parks did not break out what the percentage of U.S. homes have Chromecast as the dominant OTT device.

While touting the current U.S. dominance of Roku and the potential of Amazon's FireTV, Parks' report described Apple TV as a "sleeping giant."

"While approximately 50 percent of U.S. households have at least one Apple product, such as an iPhone or iPad, the company has not yet been able to leverage this success for its Apple TV offering," Kraus said. "Apple has not committed support and promotion to its Apple TV product line in the U.S., and its sales reflect this fact. But they are the global sales leader in this category, having sold approximately 20 million units worldwide as of April 2014, compared to an estimated eight million for Roku at the end of 2013. As Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, emerges as a new competitor in this space, it could awaken the sleeping giant that is Apple."

For more:
- read this Parks Associates report (sub. req.)

Related links:
Google contradicts Parks' Chromecast study, says usage is up
Chromecast usage dips, sales flatten out, report says
Roku's Rosenberg: MVPDs threatened by connected TV devices