Google starts to dominate streaming TV market in Europe

A television set running a variant of Google's Android TV called "Google TV."
A television set running a variant of Google’s Android TV called “Google TV.” (Photo: Google/Handout)

Google’s streaming television platform Android TV is growing its share of the European smart television market, according to new research unveiled earlier this month.

The data, released by marketing firm Omdia, showed around 90 percent of new smart televisions that shipped in Europe were powered by Android TV, including some models that include the newer version of Android TV called Google TV.

The figure is an increase of about 10 percent compared to the number of Android TV-equipped models that shipped in 2019, according to Omdia, and shows that the Google-backed technology is proving popular with streaming TV viewers there.

Android TV has a much-smaller share of the domestic streaming market, with around 6 percent of online TV viewers using some flavor of Android TV or Google TV to stream content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and other apps. In the United States, Roku and Amazon control more than 70 percent of the streaming platform market.

Consumer television habits in Europe tend to be different than North America: Until recently, most TV viewers in Europe still watched programs and movies through linear broadcast, cable and satellite channels. Broadcasters made it easy for Europeans to watch shows on their schedules by offering time-shift channels that allowed viewers to watch shows on up to a 24-hour delay.

The gap between linear and streaming TV has started to close over the last two years, with TV viewers in Europe moving more freely between the two platforms. The rollout of American-based streaming services internationally has helped, too: Over the last three years, the Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros Discovery and Paramount Global have all launched variants of their U.S.-based streaming services in the European market, and new services are launching each month.

The shift means companies like Amazon and Roku have started to take notice: Amazon has offered its Fire TV-enabled streaming sticks in Europe for several years. Roku only recently began selling its streaming devices and Roku-powered smart TVs in a handful of countries.

The decision by Roku and Amazon to focus hard on the domestic market appears to have given Google an edge in Europe with Android TV, according to Omdia’s researchers. At a conference last week, Omdia analyst Paul Gray said the firm thinks FIFA’s upcoming World Cup event will increase new TV sales — and many of those models are likely to be powered by Android TV.

Globally, Samsung is said to have a commanding lead in the streaming TV marketplace, with its Tizen platform powering around one in five new TVs sold each year.

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