Apple TV sales slip to fourth place in US streaming device market, study says

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited August 2015
According to research released Thursday, Apple TV was overtaken by upstart Amazon in the U.S. streaming device marketplace during 2014, dropping Apple's offering to fourth place in a burgeoning sector it helped create.



Market research firm Parks Associates in a report covering the U.S. streaming device market said Apple TV sales were overshadowed by strong performances from Roku, Google and Amazon.

Roku again led the way taking 34 percent of all units sold in 2014, while Google came in second with 23 percent over the same period. Amazon managed to eat marketshare with its Fire TV and Fire TV Stick to push Apple out as a top-three contender. The four companies dominated what many believe to be a nascent industry, accounting for a combined 86 percent of all units sold to broadband households.

"The market consolidation around these four brands forces new entrants to develop more creative features and functionality to tap into the strong consumer demand for streaming content," said Barbara Kraus, Director of Research at Parks Associates. "Devices with additional functionality such as the Intel Compute Stick may be a sign of things to come, where streaming is not the primary function but an extra feature to provide additional value."

Streaming services are starting to gain momentum in the U.S. as some 20 percent of households with a broadband connection owned at least one such device. Interestingly, 8 percent owned at least one stick-type device, a cost-effective format made popular by Google's Chromecast and Roku's Streaming Stick.

With an onslaught of new technology and competing service offerings, Apple is having a tough time moving its product last refreshed over two years ago. In 2012, Apple's device was in second place behind Roku, a position it would keep until 2014 when Google inched ahead with cheaper Chromecast hardware.

Device sales tell only half the story, however, as usage rates yield insight into consumer trends and potential upgrade cycle performance. The most recent results reveal Roku as the most used device in U.S. broadband households with at least one streaming device. Google came in second with 19 percent usage rate, ahead of Apple TV with 17 percent and Amazon Fire TV with 14 percent. This last statistic suggests Apple TV owners tend to use their streamer much more than those who own Google or Amazon hardware.

Apple is expected to release a new Apple TV revision with touchpad remote, dedicated App Store and Siri support in September. Also widely rumored is a bespoke over-the-top streaming service, though disagreements with content rights owners over licensing fees has supposedly forced Apple to delay launch into 2016.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 77
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    Not a shock considering there are better offerings on the market right now. Hopefully that will change come September.
  • Reply 2 of 77
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Some percentage of people realize a new model is coming. Any world in which sales did not drop would be one crazy world.

    Plus, for better or worse, Apple didn't increment gradually, they waited for a big jump all at once. They're the oldest game in town%u2014until they're not anymore.
  • Reply 3 of 77
    macinthe408macinthe408 Posts: 1,050member

    Not bad for a product that hasn't been updated since Harry Truman was president. I often forget mine is in the entertainment cabinet, what with all the options my TiVo Roamio provides. 

  • Reply 4 of 77
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,060member

    These research reports are just guesses, educated guesses. Apple doesn’t release Apple TV sales numbers and I don’t think some of the other manufacturers do either. Then there’s the fact that the Apple TV is available in other parts of the world and some of the others aren’t. Why do people take these research reports as undeniable fact when they are just guesses or estimates? I guess somebody just has to have a piece of paper in hand to reinforce their opinions.

  • Reply 5 of 77
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,060member

    Then why haven’t Roku or Google or Amazon already negotiated a deal with content providers to provide the rumored IPTV service Apple is supposed to be working on?

  • Reply 6 of 77
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,454member

    People have to be confused by the Apple strategy and execution of it (or lack thereof) at this point.

     

    Of course a new AppleTV is coming. I mean they can't keep selling the same old one forever. Yet at the same time that phrase can't be used to dismiss the points being made about competitors when you turn around and realize the Gen 3 Apple TV has been on sale for three years.

     

    Apple's hobby used to be called such because it was something they were pursuing well ahead of the curve. The point is the curve has caught up and the future is now.

     

    Apple needs new hardware. They need a drastic new interface that doesn't require a software update to add a channel and allows you to shop via the channel store. Best case would be those channels that you purchase incorporated into a refined version of the PlutoTV interface that lets you watch channels by picking icons, but also use a traditional guide to see what you want to watch, when it is on and some DVR type functionality. (More like bookmarking webstreams, not saving media.) 

     

    I hope they figure it out soon.

  • Reply 7 of 77
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,687member
    Since no one released real numbers, are they all failures? After all, if they had great numbers, someone would have bragged about it, right? /s
  • Reply 8 of 77
    They should compare how much revenue each is generating. I use an Apple TV and rent/buy a lot of movies through iTunes.

    How much is Google Chromecast generating?
  • Reply 9 of 77
    Lets look at those numbers again at the end of the year. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple was on top...especially with the upcoming App store. I imaging the gaming aspect alone will be enormous.
  • Reply 10 of 77
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,957member

    People are waiting for upcoming AppleTV to buy because if it turns out to be a platform for future living room HUB than why not wait few weeks than buy several years old device. Pay extra but get future proof device.

  • Reply 11 of 77
    Apple used to have an advantage in that the AppleTV YouTube app was completely ad-free. Not any more.
    trumptman wrote: »
    People have to be confused by the Apple strategy and execution of it (or lack thereof) at this point.

    Of course a new AppleTV is coming. I mean they can't keep selling the same old one forever. Yet at the same time that phrase can't be used to dismiss the points being made about competitors when you turn around and realize the Gen 3 Apple TV has been on sale for three years.

    Apple's hobby used to be called such because it was something they were pursuing well ahead of the curve. The point is the curve has caught up and the future is now.

    Apple needs new hardware. They need a drastic new interface that doesn't require a software update to add a channel and allows you to shop via the channel store. Best case would be those channels that you purchase incorporated into a refined version of the PlutoTV interface that lets you watch channels by picking icons, but also use a traditional guide to see what you want to watch, when it is on and some DVR type functionality. (More like bookmarking webstreams, not saving media.) 

    I hope they figure it out soon.

    AppleTV needs:
    IGZO
    A curved OLED screen
    4K
    5K
    8K
    401K
    Better suction
    802.11ac
    802.11dc
    More memory
    A keyboard
    A mouse
    A unicorn
    64-bit A9 CPU
    One more thing(TM)
    Intel Skylake
    Intel Skymonkey
    Game controller support
    Series 7000 aluminum
    App Store
    Apple Music
    Apple Porn
    Force Touch
    Kinky Touch (password required)
    HomeKit support
    Car Play with K.I.T.T. (from Knight Rider)
    KaraokeKit (for Eddy Cue)
    Free U2 album nobody wants
    More random Samsung-sourced parts so trolls can "win"
    Digital clock display that always flashes 12:00
    New cover flow UI
    What's left of Gene Munster's credibility
    Touch ID
    ApplePay
    "Pro" features like...(nobody know what that means; "pro" is a hollow term now used by trolls)
    Siri voice control
    USB-C
  • Reply 12 of 77
    512ke512ke Posts: 782member

    Amazing Apple is selling this many of a product the company hasn't significantly updated in forever!

  • Reply 13 of 77
    robin huberrobin huber Posts: 3,260member
    You snooze, you lose. Let's hope they dreamed up a killer product while sleeping.
  • Reply 14 of 77
    idreyidrey Posts: 640member
    I don't care! About this, just tell me WHEN will I get the new ?TV already!
  • Reply 15 of 77
    thrangthrang Posts: 765member

    Clearly, Apple has not cared at all about Apple TV sales for some time...they have done no promotion or advertising of the product at all (or of any memorable significance), the interface has seen no meaningful change, nor has the hardware.

     

    So either they really don't care about the segment (and thus the sales or market share numbers), or they will release something fairly significant (and likely change those numbers).

     

    I'm sure Apple really wants to make a splash in this space, as it may garner attention as a more revolutionary release than all the evolutionary stuff that has been coming out of the company for some time (revised iPhones, revised iPads, revised MacBooks, revised software, etc.) Nothing wrong with making things better, but, except for the Watch which will be a slow burn adoption, they need to gain some traction in a new space (and ATV has been forgotten so long, it almost new again)

     

    Perhaps the next Apple TV will be really more new from the ground up than just a revision.

     

    And undoubtedly, the delays are likely much more about licensing and fees than technology.

  • Reply 16 of 77
    misamisa Posts: 827member
    The problem with the Apple TV is largely that when Apple called it a Hobby, and the Cable Co's were so deeply married to their content that trying to innovate in this area was reduced to "rentals", which isn't any improvement at all.

    But then all the third parties started stepping all over themselves to try and beat Apple to the punch and produced garbage like the Chromecast or nVidia Shield , and completely-useless SmartTV's based on Android and innovated exactly nothing. This alienated consumers with junk that didn't work. There is no point to a Chromecast or nVidia shield, just like there is no point to a steambox when all the games are on Windows. A "tiny box" that [B]requires[/B] all content to be served from some other point is a dead business model. Nobody needs these things. The only innovators in this area was Nintendo, who put Netflix on both their 3DS and Wii/WiiU without trying to take revenue from Netflix beyond whatever it costs to put it on the app store. You can take the 3DS or Wii U tablet somewhere else in the room and put on headphones and continue to watch Netflix while someone else wants to watch TV.

    But all the other Netflix "hardware" has not achieved that at all. Leaving alone the fact that HULU and AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO are not available outside the US. All these SmartTV devices get used for is playing pirated video content, because there is no legitimate way to play legitimate content except on the Apple device. The Apple device however doesn't let you play your pirated content. The Chromecast does.

    Like this is how things need to be continuously framed. The success of Android devices has nothing to do with it being Linux-based or being cheaper, their success is only because they facilitate piracy so easily, and is often even encouraged by the OEM's and people selling them. Remember when all those Chinese DVD players came out, and they were popular because you could software-hack them to play any region? Same with Korean Blueray players. They will play everything. Japanese BD/DVD players? Nope. Japanese SmartTV's Nope, Korean SmartTV? Yes.

    At the end of the day, if the device doesn't do what the user wants it to do, it's a bad device. If people want to play pirated content, they're not going to buy a device that doesn't let them. So Apple needs to allow the devices to play any arbitrary video file, not just videos from Apple's store, much like playing any arbitrary "mp3" file on the iPod.
  • Reply 17 of 77
    And the mediocrity from Tim Cook's Apple, Inc. continues...

    Apple used to be a leader in so many promising areas, and while it's still clearly leading a few core markets (albeit big ones), it seems to be losing momentum in a lot of smaller areas that could become big.

    Frequently updating products and keeping them bug free just doesn't seem to be important to the company anymore.
  • Reply 18 of 77
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

    AppleTV needs:

     

    And Steve Jobs to rise from the grave and give the presentation.

  • Reply 19 of 77
    k2director wrote: »
    And the mediocrity from Tim ..... Blah blah.....

    Oh, shut up.
  • Reply 20 of 77
    thrangthrang Posts: 765member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by k2director View Post



    And the mediocrity from Tim Cook's Apple, Inc. continues...



    Apple used to be a leader in so many promising areas, and while it's still clearly leading a few core markets (albeit big ones), it seems to be losing momentum in a lot of smaller areas that could become big.



    Frequently updating products and keeping them bug free just doesn't seem to be important to the company anymore.



    Actually, they spend most of their time DOING upgrades and revisions...

     

    The Watch was the first "new" thing since the iPad I guess...

     

    Apple TV went dormant, not only because of the complexity and difficulty of licensing content from a myriad of national, regional, and local entities (US and beyond), but assuring that the eventual experience of streaming is very easy, comprehensive, and seamless.

     

    As old fashioned as cable or satellite is, I doubt I'll give it up for a streaming-only solution for years. There are far too many live broadcasts, sports events, and speciality channels that, even if they were available for streaming, would likely be far more than the ala carte pricing being thrown around.

     

    Large format quality, surround audio, and forthcoming 4k are other issues that need to be addressed as part of a forward looking solution.

     

    This is probably one of the more difficult tasks for anyone, including Apple, because there are so many chefs in the kitchen, each who want to a premium price for a meal as opposed to being part of a buffet.

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