In a move which aims to disrupt the $4 billion Australian TV industry, Google has launched Chromecast, a device which turns ordinary televisions into Internet media hubs.
Chromecast is a very small device, near the size of USB sticks which can be plugged into televisions through their HDMI ports. The device is then connected to the Internet; this allows TVs to stream online content such as YouTube videos. Each unit costs around $49.
Google Chromecast is an over-the-top [OTT] play that can adversely affect the traditional TV advertising model. Australia’s national television market is worth $4 billion based on data provided by the Commercial Economic Advisory Service of Australia [CEASA].
For its initial offering, the availability of the Australian Chromecast service will be much more limited with the media rental service Quickflix, ABC’s iView platform and Foxtel’s Presto.
Local content rights owners such as Telstra and commercial TV stations are now having discussions with Google. However, there are still no imminent plans for Chromecast offerings from these companies.
Although the product has been very popular in other countries, Google vice president of product management Mario Queiroz refused to provide any measurable forecasts about its success in Australia.
He only said: “We expect it to be a top seller … but we’re not quoting any sales figures.”
Chromecast’s success depends on its capacity to offer huge amounts of high-quality content at low prices. This is according to Tony Brown, a senior analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media.
Netflix offers unlimited downloads of popular movies like Her and shows like House of Cards for just $8.99 a month, Google Play streams movies from $6 per view and TV episodes of the same show for $2.99 each.
According to Tony Brown, “If people aren’t getting an all-you-can-eat service for under $10 they’ll feel like they’re being ripped off. Live sports is the holy grail of OTT … and that’s the trump card Foxtel and TV stations still hold.”
Shaun James, director of Foxtel said the company still has no plans to put any other Foxtel content onto Chromecast.
Shaun was also very confident that Foxtel’s overall offering of live sports and local TV shows will not be affected by Chromecast.
He said, “We see the primary Foxtel customer and the Foxtel offering as being very, very different to what’s on offer today . . . not everyone carries every single piece of content [and] it’s not uncommon behaviour where people flick between various devices.”
Stream Your Favourites with Google Chromecast
Stream your favourite shows and movies from any device with Google Chromecast. Watch the best of Netflix, Stan, Kayo Sports, and more on a bigger screen in HD with this small yet powerful device.