Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 11:10 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
Early Chromecast owners appear to be integrating the device into their lives, with almost a third or more of them using it daily or almost daily, according to a survey conducted by research firm Parks Associates. Not surprisingly, using Chromecast to watch video on TV is most popular on a daily/almost daily basis (38%). But right behind is "displaying web pages on your TV" (36%), followed by "listening to online music through your TV" (32%).
YouTube was the most-used video source on a daily/almost daily basis (49%) followed by Netflix (47%), Hulu (38%), other video web sites (36%), HBO GO (30%) and Amazon Instant Video (30%). Note that all but the YouTube and Netflix usage must be happening by "tab casting" from the Chrome browser, since none of these video sources have yet integrated Chromecast's "casting" feature (the survey was taken in August, before Hulu Plus integrated casting).
In addition, the strong "web on TV" usage underscores the value of Chromecast's "tab casting" feature. I highlighted this benefit as one of the things that Google really got right with Chromecast - the ability to display the WHOLE web on the TV, making multi-person surfing a lot more appealing than huddling around a single computer or tablet. The survey appears to support this use case, with 74% of owners citing laptop as how they interact with Chromecast, followed by 53% for desktop and just 34% for tablet.
Of course, the tab casting feature also allows users to view ANY video that's online on their TV as well. In our podcast last week, Colin and I noted how this can convolute value propositions like Hulu Plus's where part of the benefit is the ability to stream content to the TV. I suspect that other content providers are re-examining their value props also in the context of the tab casting feature.
Last but not least, early Chromecast owners skew toward heavy spending on entertainment and broadband. 26% of owners said they spend $3K or more annually on movies/TV service (next highest was $2K-$3K at 9%), while 12% said they spend $3K or more annually on broadband/phone (next highest was $500-$1K at 6%).
This means that early Chromecast owners are some of the heaviest-spending and therefore most-valued pay-TV subscribers. If Chromecast were to alter their video behavior sufficiently so that their perception of pay-TV's value declined, then Chromecast could also become a cord-cutting catalyst. It's way too early to focus on this type of consequence yet, but the fact that early Chromecast owners are using the device heavily suggests it's worth keeping a close eye.
(Note: the Parks research is the first that I've seen on Chromecast, and is available to Parks subscription clients or buyers of its research reports. Learn more here.)
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