In just two months the device has sold more than 100,000 units in the UK, according to select industry experts speaking at MediaTel’s annual ‘Media Playground’ event held in London, UK earlier this week.
Costing just £30, the thumb-sized device allows users to ‘cast’ an array of web, music and video content from a desktop browser, tablet or smartphone to a TV screen with the linked device able to act as a remote control.
The dongle officially launched in the UK back in mid-March, so while its UK sales do pale in comparison to the one million plus devices Google says it has shipped inside the US (itself far less than the 20 million Apple TVs Tim Cook says his company has sold) it’s nevertheless a solid start.
Certainly solid enough to have the same media industry experts willing to call it a ‘strong threat’ to the established pay TV market in the UK.
MobiTV’s Paul Scanlan, speaking at the event, stated:
“I think it can do more damage than good to the pay TV operators. To the existing incumbents I think Chromecast is a really strong threat.”
Nigel Walley, managing director at media strategy consultancy Decipher, is more optimistic. He expects pay TV operators, such as Sky, will “look at [Chromecast] and say ‘Terrific; let’s build casting capabilities into our new home app.” The potential for them to exploit Chromecast technologies to further their businesses is there for the taking — providing they can adapt quickly enough to use it.
In addition to a burgeoning roster of indie apps the Chromecast already has several of the UK’s biggest media providers onboard. BBC iPlayer, BT Sport, and Netflix all offered native Cast support in their respective Android and iOS applications on launch day, with the BBC planning to add cast support to its web player in the near future.
Big names or no, not everyone is convinced it poses a disruptive threat.
ITV’s controller of digital products, Jon Block, describes casting as “a niche activity” that is yet to chime with the mainstream public, and whose appear will remain ‘limited’ while apps like 4oD and ITV Player choose not to embrace it.
Whatever the experts might argue in favour of, the sales snippet alone is evidence that there is an appetite for easy-to-use, convenient second-screen mirroring of media content in the UK.