Five years after the original Roku launched and just weeks after the release of the Roku 3, the company has announced lifetime US sales of 5 million units. The proclamation comes attached to a detailed infographic (linked below) that breaks down its last five years of progress, plus stats like where it’s most popular (Lexington, KY) and the most minutes streamed by one player in one week (10,080.) That’s quite a marathon session — Lost plus House of Cards doesn’t even get you halfway — but its stats claim 25 percent of players stream more than 35 hours per week.
The last time we checked in on Roku sales, it was chasing the million unit mark alongside Apple’s hobby. The Apple TV has since risen to 5 million sold in the last fiscal year, buoyed by the AirPlay feature that makes it an attractive accessory for the company’s other devices. To Roku’s favor, it claims 43 percent of owners say it’s their preferred source of video for their TV. It’s come a long way from its start as a Netflix Player with more than 750 channels available including Time Warner Cable and HBO Go, which makes CEO Anthony Wood’s claim that the “future of TV is streaming” look closer than ever.
It’s easy to assume that Apple is going to change the game when it launches a TV later this year.
But remember one thing: People already LOVE television.
Look how much they’re watching compared to doing other things, according to this chart posted by Peter Kafka at All Things D:
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Two bits of news came out yesterday that illustrate how far ahead Microsoft is in the battle for the living room.
First, Microsoft announced it had sold 1.7 million Xboxes in November. That includes 1 million in the week of Thanksgiving.
The firm says that sales of those devices will reach 12 million in 2011, with Apple TV shipping 4 million.
In other words, Microsoft sold more Xboxes in a single week than Apple sells in an average quarter. And Apple is the market leader in that “connected TV players” space. At least when you ignore game consoles.
This isn’t to pick on Apple. It’s simply to point out that Microsoft’s “Trojan horse” strategy with the Xbox has worked amazingly well.
And this was absolutely part of Microsoft’s strategy from the beginning — way back in 2005 before the Xbox 360 launched, Microsoft executives were talking about trying to expand the market beyond hardcore video gamers and turn it into a more general-purpose entertainment device. But Microsoft always knew it had to make a top-notch game console first to get the installed base, then add entertainment features over time.
It’s been doing that, quietly, for more than five years now and has sold almost 60 million Xboxes in the process. With the addition of a whole bunch of TV and other video content last week, the strategy has finally reached full fruition.
Apple, Google, and other connected TV companies could still have a chance if they team up with TV makers so the software is built into your new television set. But any company who hopes to compete with the Xbox by selling an add-on box that DOESN’T play games is in a deep state of denial.
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Specifically, during Apple’s December quarter, the company reported $5.6 billion of iPhone-related revenue, up 90% year-over-year. That edged out the Mac business ($4.5 billion) and iPod business ($3.4 billion) for the second quarter in a row and the third time ever. It was the first time the iPhone has beat the Mac and iPod businesses by more than $1 billion each.
Why the new visibility? During the quarter, Apple started taking advantage of new accounting rules that lets it report the vast majority of revenue from iPhones and Apple TV devices immediately. Previously, it had to spread the revenue over 24 months to account for free software updates it would offer those customers.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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