Eight billion connected devices globally boost video | Media Analysis | Business
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Netflix has secured a presence across 32% of the connected devices in the US.


IoT IHSThis translates to a not-unhealthy number: The IHS Technology Connected Device Market Monitor report shows that as of year end 2015, Netflix addressed 339 million connected devices in the US.

“Netflix’s reach is a testament to the company’s unrivalled device strategy,” said Merrick Kingston, principal analyst – connected home, IHS Technology. “The service’s ubiquity turns Netflix into a de facto rival – and on occasion complement – to any other given video offering in the US.”

Overall, the world now contains 8.1 billion connected smartphones, tablets, personal computers, TVs, TV-attached devices and audio devices, the firm found. On average, across the globe, this device base equates to an astounding four devices per household.

“The proliferation of media-enabled connected endpoints has implications for media consumption, media production, broadband infrastructure and the business itself of network management and traffic discrimination,” said Kingston. “It drives media consumption, IP traffic and more.”

Out of those billions, smartphones outnumber tablets by five to one. They contribute roughly half a billion new devices to the market; tablet and OTT set-tops are also growing quickly, but operate a full order of magnitude below the smartphone. By 2020, this ratio will only widen. Within the forecast period, the smartphone-to-tablet ratio rises to nearly 10:1.

The latest IHS Technology report also noted the big changes in the wider-connected, media-enabled hardware ecosystem.

For all its early momentum, Chromecast had been unable to outship the Apple TV. This finally changed during the first quarter of 2016 with Apple TV shipping 1.7 million units compared to Google pushing 3.2 million Chromecasts to market. The Apple TV, starting at $149, has inexorably been shuttled into the segment’s top end.

The device is now positioned as a premium hub that appeals to consumers of digital video, to casual gamers and to iOS owners who are intrinsically attracted to Apple’s singular user-interface.

“We anticipate that this reversal will persist,” Kingston said. “Since the introduction of the fourth-generation Apple TV, Apple and Google have pursued vastly different strategies.”

To wit: Chromecast, at $35, is a veritable bargain, naturally complements portable Android devices and offers a no-frills casting experience that obviates the very need for a user interface.

The takeaway? The days when a multiscreen pay-TV service could uniquely lay claim to a device or platform are effectively gone. And that means that Netflix might have to watch its back; going forward, pay-TV media apps are virtually guaranteed to sit alongside the Netflix application on consumers’ end devices.