"Thirty-six percent of U.S. broadband households have at least one streaming media player, up from 27% last year," said Barbara Kraus, Parks' director of research. "Device makers have successfully sold streaming media players to consumers by offering easy access to a variety of content streams, as well as frequent updates that add the latest innovation. Amazon in particular has benefited by promoting its Fire TV devices in conjunction with the company's Prime Video service as well as streams from HBO, Showtime, and other premium offerings."
While Apple TV remains in fourth place among the four major brands, it had the largest increase in unit sales year-over-year, primarily due to its long-awaited new version, launched in 4Q 2015. Its share of sales in 2015 was 50% higher than its share in 2014. Amazon also had a substantially higher share of unit sales in 2015.
"Roku and Amazon benefit from multiple form factors - both offer boxes and sticks," Kraus said. "Sticks accounted for 50% of all unit sales in 2015. Approximately one-third of Roku sales were sticks, and roughly three-quarters of Amazon sales were sticks. Apple and Roku were essentially tied for selling the most boxes, but Roku is expanding its base with the additional form factor."
Parks Associates estimates that 86 million streaming media players will be sold globally in 2019. In 2014, 34% of U.S. broadband households that bought a streaming media device bought a Roku, 23% bought a Google Chromecast, 16% bought an Amazon Fire TV, and 13% bought an Apple TV.
"We are seeing an OTT industry that is extremely volatile, a product of the rapidly changing market space, and players are experimenting with new ways to slice and sell content," said Glenn Hower, Parks research analyst. "For emerging services, churn is going to be an ongoing issue as they experiment with new bundles and content offerings. The OTT market has low barriers to entry, but service providers need to generate revenue to remain relevant and in business. Access to content, content distribution knowledge, and investment capability for streaming solutions are the primary requirements for aspiring OTT video providers, but ultimately they need to keep subscribers in order to survive."