On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry.
As streaming becomes an increasingly crowded field, two tech giants have decided that “kiss and make up” is a better strategy to continue growing their user bases and fending off newer competitors.
On April 18, Google and Amazon announced that they would let each other’s video services — Google’s YouTube and Amazon’s Prime Video — appear on the other’s streaming devices.
The partnership ends a years-long standoff between the tech giants that created an access gap for consumers on Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire TV.
“People will subscribe to multiple services, so you want to make sure you have that ease of subscription or you could lose out on a customer,” Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer and director of research at Tigress Financial Partners, a New York-based investment and brokerage firm, told Karma on April 18. “They really needed to open up both platforms.”
In a statement, both companies said that the official YouTube app will be available on Fire TV “in the coming months” and that separate YouTube TV and YouTube Kids apps will also be made available on Fire TV devices. Amazon’s Prime Video apps will also soon be available on Chromecast devices and Android TV.
The two firms had previously failed to be friendly competitors over numerous consumer devices in the last few years. In 2015, Amazon halted sales of Google’s Chromecast, as well as Apple TV, to cut competition for its own smart assistant, Alexa. Consequently, Google blocked YouTube from Amazon’s Fire TV products and its Echo Show device in December 2017. Amazon mended ties with Apple in 2017 and reintroduced sales of Google’s Chromecast in December 2018, but it had not yet reintroduced YouTube to Amazon products.
With a number of media and tech giants, including Apple Inc., Roku Inc., AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Walt Disney Co., announcing streaming services over the last few months, reaching a detente is likely a necessity for the two companies to maintain their industry dominance.
Allowing for cross-access on devices could enable the companies access to broader pools of potential subscribers, which could grow their user base and help keep new entrants at bay.