In this week's collection of recent cord-cutting news items from around the web: Amazon Fire TV battling with Roku, but still in second place; new features arriving with Roku OS 9.2; ESPN+ to be the new home of the Bundesliga in the U.S.; MLB’s YouTube game live-streams averaged 1.2 million views this season; Fire TV might not get Disney+; the streaming wars will be great for Pluto TV; TiVo takes on Roku with new DVR and free live channels; and more!
In a comparison of forecasts of Amazon Fire TV and Roku users in the US, eMarketer predicts that Amazon Fire TV won't surpass Roku's current number of users until 2023, at which point Fire TV will have 88 million users compared to a prediction of 111.7 million Roku users.
"Exciting new updates aimed at giving you the best possible streaming experience are on the way with Roku OS 9.2," Roku recently blogged. "The software update includes features that make it easier for you to discover entertainment including Roku Zones, an update to the 4K Spotlight channel, a new Roku Tips & Tricks channel and more." Roku Zones? That's a new feature that will let you use Roku Search to enter a supported genre or topical subject and receive a curated selection of relevant entertainment. More information on these and other features can be found in the Roku OS 9.2 Release Notes.
Apptopia looked at the top SVOD mobile apps that provide access to live TV in the United States, excluding sports-specific services like ESPN. Specifically, Hulu, YouTube TV, Pluto TV, Sling TV, Tubi, fuboTV, Philo and AT&T Watch TV were included in the analysis. "As a grouping, quarterly U.S. downloads of these apps have grown 77% over the past two years. From 13.1 million new installs in Q3 2017 to 23.2 million in Q3 2019." Top takeaways? "The majority of this download growth stems Pluto TV and Tubi, which are free services that earn revenue by selling ad space. Removing Pluto and Tubi from the group would knock the growth down from 77% to just 37%. Considering subscription services are all the rage in our space right now, this is an interesting development. It's not unlike the explosion of hyper casual games we've seen which generate the majority of their revenue from running ads."
"ESPN+ will be the new U.S. home for Germany’s Bundesliga as the result of a new multi-year agreement that will begin in August 2020," Bundesliga recently announced. "ESPN+ will feature exclusive live and on-demand replay coverage of more than 300 matches per season from the Bundesliga, in both English and Spanish languages. In addition, the long-term agreement includes live coverage of the season kick-off DFL Supercup, rights to Bundesliga 2 matches and on-demand surround programming such as highlights and magazine shows."
According to Variety, "across 13 MLB games live-streamed on YouTube during the 2019 season, the live average number of views was 1.2 million, including pre- and post-game shows. Total average minute audience (AMA) across the games was 130,000; the peak concurrent viewer average was 171,000. (The figures exclude YouTube’s live stream of the Braves vs. Nationals night game Sept. 13, which also aired on the MASN regional sports net.)" Is that good or bad? "'We’re really happy with the success of the entire partnership,' a YouTube rep said."
The Verge, reporting on a Wall Street Journal article, says that "Amazon’s Fire TV is at risk of being the only major streaming platform without Disney+ at launch, as the two companies remain locked in a dispute over advertising... If Disney doesn’t agree with Amazon over advertising space, the company could also possibly see a number of its apps removed from Fire TV, including sports streaming service ESPN+."
"A streaming showdown is coming," says AdWeek, "but Tom Ryan isn’t worried. In fact, the co-founder and CEO of the free ad-supported streaming service Pluto TV is looking at it as a business opportunity. The streaming wars, which have so far been defined by subscription video-on-demand services like the upcoming Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock, are bound to get ugly as competitors try to pry customers away from more established players like Netflix and Hulu. Pluto TV, which Viacom acquired earlier this year, is hoping to attract marketing dollars from those premium subscription services as those companies duke it out for more customers."
"TiVo's new TiVo Plus live TV service will appear on the company's new Edge DVR for both antenna and cable," Cnet reports. "TiVo Plus is exclusive to TiVo owners and appears to be a competitor to services like the Roku Channel and Pluto TV. The company has partnered with content producers like TMZ, Outside TV, PowerNation, FailArmy, Hell's Kitchen and Cheddar. The service will be available in the coming weeks, TiVo says."RokuGuide.com may receive a referral fee for any purchases or subscriptions made through links on this page. See our full FTC Disclosure Statement for more information.