• Inside the Stream Podcast: Max or Min? Can Google TV Catch Up to Roku?

    This week on Inside the Stream we focus on two main topics: first, is Warner Bros. Discovery’s decision to brand/bundle its streaming services under “Max” going to be successful, or is it going to be “Min” (as in have Minimum impact)? There’s little daylight between how Colin and I see things.

    Of all the many issues, to me the most worrisome is the fact that the discovery+ library is being thrown into Max for no additional cost. That means WBD assigns its incremental, measurable value in the bundle at $0.

    Next we turn our attention to the dynamics in the CTV/device industry. Colin is excited about a new initiative Google unveiled this week, where it provides improved guide/UI access to 800+ FAST channels. Colin sees this as a meaningful competitive differentiator, and believes Google TV / Android TV will grow briskly outside of the U.S. and even gain a few points of market share domestically.

    It’s hard to argue against better discovery being valuable, yet I don’t see it as a game-changer in the CTV space, at least domestically, because, well, to start with, very few people actually use Google TV domestically.

    In fact, according to insights from Beachfront’s CTV Marketplace for H2 2022, Google TV’s share of impression volume was a measly 1.9%. Meanwhile Roku, the perennial market share leader in the U.S., notched 39.2% of impressions, roughly consistent with the range I’ve seen for Roku for years.

    While Colin and I agree that Google TV / YouTube / YouTube TV is a formidable collection of assets for Google, I remain quite sanguine about Roku’s ability to compete in the land of the giants. There have been no shortage of Roku naysayers over the years, since I wrote “Scrappy Roku Makes More Deals, Keeps Elbowing Its Way Into the Big Leagues” back in January, 2013, following a keynote interview I did with CEO/Founder Anthony Wood at NATPE in Miami.

    In the 10 years since, Roku has more than held its own, and is arguably the most innovative company in the ad industry. Roku is focused and relentless, and it has a very strong talent bench. As I put it in 2013, Roku remains “more a work horse than a show horse.” As for Google, a sub-2% CTV/device share after all these years? The good news: there (continues to be) really only one way to go from here.

    Listen to the podcast to learn more (36 minutes, 47 seconds)

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