In a survey of more than 10,000 broadband-equipped households in the US, market research company Parks Associates found that more than 20% now own a media streaming device, like the Roku and Amazon Fire TV.
Of those, 6% own a Chromecast — a stat that has largely held steady since its launch in America last summer.
Chromecast Usage Dropping
Owning the device is one thing but using it is another.
Parks found that the percentage of people using their Chromecast at least once a month for web browsing — ‘casting a tab’ — fell from 76% in the months following launch (Q3 2013) to just 57% in the first quarter of this year.
It’s a dramatic sounding drop. But is there a possible explanation to offset it?
More applications (Android, iOS and Chrome OS) now natively support casting. This means that owners have less need to ‘cast’ content from their web browser to their TV. Secondly, the novelty of shunting browser tabs to a big screen tends to wear off as the strengths of the device — which is arguably in casting media content like Netflix, Pandora and ESPN — takes over.
Video Streaming Usage Also Hits a Buffer
The Parks consumer survey also reports a comparatively small drop in the number of users streaming video through the device: dropping from 78% to 73% for the same period above. Furthermore, the consumer survey saw only 22% of Chromecast owners say that the $35 dongle is their ‘most frequently used streaming device’ at home.
John Barrett, director of Parks consumer reports, said in the press release accompanying their findings: “Streaming media players are starting to play a bigger role in home entertainment, but interest in new entry Google Chromecast is waning,” adding that games consoles and smart TVs remain preferred options.
But is this really bad news for Google and/or their streaming ambitions? I think not.
These stats actually show something incredibly positive: in less than one year on the market the Chromecast accounts for 6% of media streaming devices — a slice of marketshare that newer entrants will be lucky to reach in twice the time.
Minor drops in music and video casting aside, the device is clearly still actively being used for its standout streaming video feature by the majority (73%) of owners.
So sure, fewer people are casting website tabs to their TVs. But aside from feeding a good headline or two the drop doesn’t really indicate anything other than a preference for one feature of the multifaceted device over another.
Video streaming usage remains consistent, the device is continuing to sell well (and sell in newer countries) and developer interest is rife. Google’s Chromecast is looking healthy from where I’m sat.