Roku’s streaming TV platform accounted for more than 30% of U.S. sales of connected-TV devices in the first quarter, and its lead over the No. 2 provider, Sony PlayStation, will reach 70% by the end of 2019.
Those are among the findings in a new report from research firm Strategy Analytics.
The report counted more than 41 million Roku-based devices in use, including streaming and smart TVs, accounting for 15.2% of all media streaming devices. The startup led by Anthony Wood, a tech pioneer who holds patents to DVR technology, recently said its licensing business gives one out of every three smart TVs sold in the U.S. a Roku interface and user experience. That gives it bigger market share than manufacturers like Samsung or Vizio, without the overhead costs of those hardware giants. After an initial emphasis on hardware (streaming boxes and sticks), Roku has pivoted to emphasize partnerships, advertising and licensing.
Roku’s current lead of 36% over Sony PlayStation will nearly double to 70% by the end of the year, the report predicts. By the end of 2019, more than 52 million Roku-powered devices will be in use, accounting for 18% of all connected media devices.
Amazon’s Fire TV OS ranked No. 2 in terms of streaming TV sales in the quarter, with 12% of sales, followed by Samsung’s Tizen at 11% and Google (Android TV and Chromecast) at 9%.
“Roku had another strong quarter in Q1 and continues to hold a commanding lead in streaming media platforms in spite of Amazon’s growing influence in the living room,” said David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics and author of the report. Although Roku has quickly become “a highly respected and trusted brand in the U.S.,” Watkins added, the company’s international prospects are more uncertain. “In order to succeed on the international stage, it will need to face down the twin challenge of building brand awareness and drawing users away from well-established players such as Amazon, Apple and Google,” he said.
David Mercer, principal analyst at Strategy Analytics, put an even finer point on it. “Google and Amazon clearly have their work cut out to stay in touch with the market leader,” he said.
Here is a chart showing Roku’s rise in recent years: