Roku Might Be On Its Heels, But Amazon's Fire TV Just Keeps Growing

Amazon’s Fire TV platform now has more than 34 million active users.

This is based on the latest update provided by Amazon’s Head of Marketing, Growth, & Engagement for Fire TV, Jennifer Prenner. The update was provided during a panel discussion hosted by The Pay TV Show earlier this week.

The discussion revolved around “The Battle for Your Living Room: Sticks, Boxes, and Smart TV Platforms” and the number was touted as a means to highlight the continued growth and dominance Amazon has within the streaming media player sector.

For reference, Amazon was reported quoting 30 million active users at the start of the year and therefore the suggestion is the platform has picked up roughly four million new (and active) users in the last few months alone.

While this is certainly good news for Amazon and its Fire TV ecosystem, that’s not to say Amazon won’t be feeling the pressure from what has become an extremely competitive market in the last couple of years.

Roku, for example, recently reported its first quarter results and in doing so confirmed its active user base now stands at 29 million. Putting it not far behind Amazon and in spite of what might be considered a lesser reach considering Fire TV OS directly makes a play for the existing Amazon Prime user base.

Looking at 2019 alone, Roku had previously announced 27 million active users at the close of 2018, resulting in an addition of two million active users in the first quarter of this year.

Depending on when Amazon is drawing the line on reaching the 34 million marker (today or end of Q1), at worst this puts Roku’s 2019 user growth at half of that of Fire TV.

Regardless of the difference between the two, Roku OS and Fire TV OS are proving to be the two streaming platforms that are in the ascendance.

Which is not that surprising considering both have focused on continually enriching the user experience. Both now offer users the option to subscribe to premium subscriptions within their ecosystem (something that's due to come to Android TV soon) and both have been keen to ensure their players and OS play nicely with a wide range of smart home products. Recently,

Roku has even started making some of its services -- like The Roku Channel -- available on other platforms, signalling its move beyond hardware. A move that seems to have worked out well so far considering irrespective of player sales, the platform continues to generate improved revenue and attract more users.

In Amazon’s case, the company will be hoping to see an improvement in viewing hours per user in the coming months following the confirmation that the official YouTube app is now finally returning to the platform.

The confirmation on the return of the YouTube app was made in conjunction with Google where the two companies also confirmed the official Prime Video app is becoming readily available on Android TV.

A change that might also help to increase Amazon video service watch time as well as the number of active users, albeit on a competing platform.

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John Anon

Editor-in-Chief
John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]
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