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Is CTV Viewing on Android TV Vastly Underestimated?

We’ve heard loudly from both Roku and Amazon that their respective connected-TV platforms each have around 40 million active users globally.

Google doesn’t talk much about Android TV penetration. 

Google doesn’t talk much about Android TV penetration. 

According to research company Conviva, Roku-enabled smart TVs, boxes and sticks made up 44% of U.S. connected-TV viewing time in the first quarter, while Fire TV usage accounted for 19%.

But what about the fast-rising Android TV platform?

Conviva doesn’t even include Android TV in its connected-TV device rankings (there’s a small category called “other” that accounted for 3% of OTT usage in Q1). And while Google actively touts how many users there are globally for its Android-branded smartphone operating system (2.5 billion), it doesn’t talk much about Android TV, outside of its pay TV operator partnerships for the platform (more than 160 globally at last count).

Three percent or less seems awful low for a device ecosystem that not only controls a lot of pay TV set-tops (such as those associated with the new AT&T TV service) and smart TVs and a lot of niche connected-TV devices, notably Dish Network’s AirTV, Xiaomi Mi and NVIDIA Shield.

Consider Google’s latest revelation: 50 million active YouTube accounts have been initiated via Android TV since the app was first introduced in the Google Play Store on Android TV back in 2015.

This isn’t just a measurement of how many times the app has been downloaded for various devices. It’s the number of accounts that have been established from an initial app download.

The number is meaningful, in that it suggests that usage of Android TV, at least globally, might be somewhere on par with Roku and Fire TV.

Of course, the 50 million figure would mean more if there was something to triangulate against. The next most popular Google Play Store app on Android TV is Chromecast, which has been downloaded to 10 million accounts. Google doesn’t include any signposts from 10 million to 50 million, however.