People are hungry for flexibility in the way that they consume media.
The potential reach of online mobile video has created significant marketplace opportunities, with companies like Facebook and Twitter trying to get into the video realm with apps like Vine and Instagram video. The “want it now” generation, wants it now, and they want it to be big. So when streaming videos and movies onto a computer, phone or tablet isn’t enough, people look to streaming to the old living room standby – the television.
Chromecast connects mobile devices to televisions, bringing the mobile video experience to the living room. Google is not the first to create a tool that allows users to connect their smartphones, tablets and laptops to their television sets. While the idea of streaming online video to your television via mobile devices isn’t groundbreaking, Google’s approach may just make them the masters of the Second Screen experience.
From a pricing perspective, at $35 the Google Chromecast is the cheapest option on the market. Apple TV, which at $99 is still a relatively affordable piece of technology, is significantly more expensive than the new alternative. Google has also made Chromecast compatible with multiple devices, whether Android or iOS.
With the potential to capitalize on major revenue and advertisement, there is a mutually beneficial outcome for companies and brands that support Chromecast integration. The benefit to Google is a more desirable product and the benefit to the publishers and rights holders is an expanded audience. More content is a benefit for consumers who have come to expect integration and flexibility between devices, and have a growing appetite for mobile video content. Consumers seem to have a strong appetite for Chromecast, which has already sold out on Amazon.com and BestBuy.com.
Though this may sound like a dream come true for consumers, there are some legal obstacles that need to be worked through. Gaining rights from networks and other apps to allow integration and broadcast with Chromecast is not a guarantee.
While YouTube is a powerhouse of online video content and is heavily consumed on mobile, Google is looking beyond the content that they own. Chromecast launched with access to both YouTube and Netflix, and rumors have been swirling about which publishers will join them next. They are reportedly in talks with HBO about providing access to HBO Go and are said to be adding Redbox Instant in addition to Hulu, Blip, Vevo and Devour.
Chromecast will be a point of long-term growth for Google, and for anyone who partners up and agrees to utilize the advertising potential. Consumers will become promoters for their favorite shows, songs and videos by sharing them on the big screen in their homes. Interestingly, as much as the integration of mobile and television will mean more opportunities for second-screen engagement, it may also mean more offline sharing in social settings. The reach of a television screen in a crowded room is greater than that of a 4 inch screen.