More than 100,000 Chromecasts have been sold in just two months of being launched in the UK. The figure comes from select industry experts speaking at MediaTel’s annual ‘Media Playground’ event held in London, UK earlier this week.
Google introduced the £30 Chromecast in the UK back in March following the successful launch of the device in the US. Compared to the sale figure of more than a million devices shipped in the US, the 100k figure does pale in comparison, but nonetheless it is a solid start for the device in a new land. Also, given that fact that the device isn’t as pricey as some of its other competitors like Apple’s AirPlay and Roku 3, the Chromecast have a very good probability of being a dominant force in the field.
In fact speaking at Media Playground on Wednesday, Paul Scanlan, co-founder and president of MobiTV, Chromecast, which allows video content from tablets and smartphones to be ‘cast’ to a TV screen, was a “strong threat” to the likes of Sky, Virgin, BT and TalkTalk.
“I think it can do more damage than good to the pay TV operators,” he said. “To the existing incumbents I think Chromecast is a really strong threat.”
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. Even BBC is planning to add casting feature in their web player in the future. Nigel Walley, managing director at media strategy consultancy Decipher, expects pay TV operators like to add casting capability to their Sky+ app thus integrating into the threat and profiting from it rather than fighting it.
However, Jon Block, ITV’s controller of digital products, is not that optimistic. According to him Casting is a niche activity at the moment and says that it will take it about half a decade to become mainstream by which time the TV market will be in a new cycle, thus negating any possibilities of a threat. He also cites that since there are a lot of services that are not supported by Chromecast, like 4OD and ITVPlayer, Chromecast have a long way to go before being classified as a viable threat. He also adds that lack of any industrial standard in this field will keep the Chromecast limited in the foreseeable future.
Whether the Chromecast is a serious threat, or it is just a limited device with a lucky start only time will tell. But what we can say from the figures for sure is that there is healthy amount of demand for the convenience and connected experience that Chromecast is capable of affording to the end users.