Chromecast, the companion screen revisited

Gilles Fontaine


Deputy Managing Director
Director of the Business Unit TV & Digital Content Business Unit, IDATE


Chromecast, the HDMI dongle that Google rolled out in 2013 allows users to send content from a computer, smartphone or tablet to their TV set via Wi-Fi. The way it works is nothing terribly new: a great many IP boxes, including those supplied by IPTV providers, already allow users to share videos between screens.

But the ease of use, and especially the fact of controlling it through a mobile app, no doubt explain why Chromecast took off so quickly, and has actually sold out in the US. The speed at which content providers are getting behind the system also confirms that Google has probably found its way into the TV universe at last. YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and HBO are already or have announced plans to become Chromecast-compatible.

The device has changed the outlook for smart TV by making the smartphone, and especially the tablet companion devices par excellence. Having failed to impose its OS on the TV itself, Google leveraged its clout on mobile devices – most of which now run on Android – and to a lesser extent the growing market share that its Chrome browser is enjoying on computers.

Google's positioning in connected TV

Google and connected TV

Source: IDATE

Having online video services available on the TV set should help further boost their appeal with viewers. American TV networks, which banded together to protect their exclusivity over the home screen, are thus being circumvented, and telcos’ IPTV services now have another rival.

With Chromecast, Google is giving consumers the power to choose what they want to watch on which screen, without the complex interfaces of smart TVs which are struggling to achieve a happy marriage between traditional TV channels and the web.

More interesting still, this latest innovation from Google, which retails for $35, also pushes the tablet up the power ladder, making it the screen of choice for both viewing and remote control.


The state of the digital world in figures

Interview with Didier Pouillot, Digiworld Yearbook project manager

Interview published in weekly letter from ARCEP - 7 June 2013

Find the intervew Didier Pouillot by ARCEP on the occasion of the publication of the 13th of the DigiWorld Yearbook: our annual publication on the state of the digital world. (Interview available in french only)

Source: ARCEP's website

Didier Pouillot reviews the status and trends of DigiWorld markets: telecommunications, computer and television, an economy that accounts for 6% of global GDP, but whose performance is currently short of those of the general economy, particularly in Europe, on which Didier Pouillot explains the situation. This is also an opportunity to recall the issues in each market of the digital economy with many business models are changing mainly because of internet giants: Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Apple, and more broadly OTT services.

Discover the slides from the London Yearbook presentation with Ronan Dune, CEO Telefónica :

Digiworld Yearbook 2013 Presentation in London, with Ronan Dunne, CEO Telefónica UK Limited. from DigiWorld by IDATE

About the Digiworld Yearbook

digiworld yearbook 2013
197 pages that deliver the finest market insights from IDATE experts who track the changes at work in the globe’s telecom, Internet and media industries throughout the year.

the DigiWorld Yearbook is published in English and French and available in print and PDF format. An iPad edition, developed by Forecomm, is also available.

The 2012 edition can be downloaded for free
The 2013 edition is available for purchase. Print: €99.99, incl. VAT; PDF and iPad: €54.99, incl. VAT


  • You can have a look at the digiworld yearbook 2013, purchase it or even download the 2012 version for free at : www.digiworld.org/yearbook/

Telecommunications versus Over-The-top communications

Soichi Nakajima

Senior Consultant at IDATE

OTT communication service
will account for 6% of total
communication service revenues by 2020

In 2020, for the USA and EU5 combined, OTT communication service revenues will have increased to 15 billion EUR from 7 billion EUR in 2012. Yet they will still only account for 6% of total communication service revenues, with telcos accounting for the remaining 94%. The total market will decline, mainly due to the telcos’ devaluation of the market, rather than the OTTs taking their revenues.

Drawing on IDATE’s extensive work on the latest trends in communication services, this latest study, “Future of Communication 2020: Telco & OTT communication - market forecasts” delves deeper into our analysis and forecasts the paths which the market is expected to take between now and 2020.

The six key trends shaping the market
In this study, IDATE outlines the 6 key trends happening in the communication services market which will shape the market through to 2020.

1. The aggregation of communication types: IDATE notes that most communication service providers are aggregating and providing several communication types to the market. For example, Facebook is primarily a social network (which is a communication tool in itself), but also offers voice, messaging and file sharing services too. In the case of operators, they of course traditionally offer voice and messaging as their core product, but are now looking to diversify into file sharing too, either through cloud products or the GSMA-led RCSe (Rich Communication Suite enhanced) initiative, marketed as ‘joyn’.
* EU5: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United-Kingdom

2. Beyond traditional communication for telcos: The telcos are now looking to offer more than simply voice and messaging, in order to remain competitive in the market and to remain more than a dumb pipe. IDATE sees three main ways in which telcos are striving to achieve this: providing their own OTT communication service (such as Telefonica with their TU Me app and Orange with their Libon app); partnering with OTT communication service providers (such as Verizon and H3G UK with Skype and H3G HK with WhatsApp); and joining the GSMA-led ‘joyn’ initiative, launched by the three principle operators in Spain (Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone), which aims to offer enhanced communication services across all mobile phones in the same simple way as traditional voice and SMS today.

3. Voice and messaging becoming a telco commodity: The need for telcos to offer more than the traditional voice and messaging service is largely due to the commoditisation of such services. These services are today taken for granted, and virtually all telcos offer them in abundance; that is to say for a certain fee, users get massive amounts of minutes and messages that in reality are hard to use all up, and there are also many cases of unlimited offerings. This means that the value of such services is decreasing. Another trend for telcos is bundling, from double to quadruple play. Whilst such marketing strategies are intended to increase user appeal and also reduce churn, the fee itself is normally reduced and hence further devalues the standard voice and messaging services.

4. Mobile data and WiFi makes strong case for OTTs: For OTT communication services to work on mobile, there needs to be Internet connectivity on the mobile. Especially with the exploding popularity of smartphones, this Internet connection is increasingly provided by both mobile data plans and WiFi. Unlike voice and messaging, unlimited mobile data packages are relatively rare with at the very least throttling usually involved. Especially in the case of messaging there are only small amounts of data involved and thus this poses no problem. Video communication, on the other hand, is often banned by operators, but is possible through WiFi; and in many situations where one wants to use video communication, the user is stationary anyway (such as calling loved ones far away).

5. The rise of video communication: IDATE also notes the increased interest in the market for video communication. The concept is hardly new since operators have in the past tried to market the service, but with limited success. In particular, one of the demerits of operator video-calling propositions was the high cost for users, but now OTTs have come in with a free proposition using WiFi, including the likes of Apple and Facebook. Further, the concept of WebRTC, which allows video calling directly from the browser to any other browser could potentially boost video calling; there is no need for users to download software as WebRTC is an API for developers.

6. Genuinely free OTT offers in exchange of user data: One of the obvious advantages of OTT services is that it often comes for free, or in some cases, a very low fee. As an overall trend in the Internet market, the advertising model is becoming standard and the advertising market is set to grow with better tools and analytics, especially for mobile. The communication market is no exception, and is set to profit from advertising. However, generally speaking, users see advertising as a nuisance, and there is also a market for low-cost services with no advertisements, as demonstrated by the highly successful WhatsApp application.

Project Manager: Soichi Nakajima

Soichi joined IDATE as a senior consultant in January 2009. His main area of endeavour is the mobile communications market, such as the mobile Internet, applications, contents and services, the analysis of strategies employed by the various players, scenario building and forecasts. He also works on other business potentials for the mobile Internet, such as smart grids and VoIP. Before coming to IDATE, Soichi worked for NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s largest mobile network operator by subscriber numbers, where he played a leading role in the strategic planning of the roll-out of Japan’s first 3G M2M data-only tariffs. Soichi holds a Bachelors degree in mathematics, from the University of Nottingham in the UK.

To learn about more about this topic and our related market report please visit our website


DigiWorld Summit: Key players

DigiWorld Summit

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"Game Changers: Mobile, Cloud, Big Data"

They are the key players of the Digital news and the Digital World… they will be at the DigiWorld Summit !

A third of all the Smartphones purchased by consumers during the 3 Q is a Samsung Device (<56 millions of smartphones vs. <30 for 3 Q 2011 ) …

Vassilis SEFERIDIS, Director European Business Development Samsung Electronics will participate to the Round-Table on Nov. 14 at 11:00am " Smart Devices ecosystems vs. Open Cloud".
Microsoft launches its Windows 8 . This is not only the last version of its OS which is operating >90% of the worldwide PC… It's really a new product which must give a new chance to the PC facing the other devices. .. the opportunity for the company to come back in the smartphones and tablets competition…

Speaker to be confirmed : we don't know today his name (!), but we will welcome an Executive from Microsoft at the Summit for a keynote speech on November 14, just before the lunch.
Julien LESAICHIERE, Windows Azure Platform Lead, will participate to the last panel of the Executive Seminar 3Big Dta & Privacy" on Nov 14.
Google which dominates the Web research engine market but also owns Android, Google Map or Street View and has a real ambition in the cloud based services, is again asked to give more information about its private data policy…

Barak REGEV, Enterprise Cloud Platforl Lead will be the invited Keynote speaker for the Executive Seminar of the Summit devoted to "Internet Economics, Big Data & Privacy" (November 14, afternoon);
Hal VARIAN, chief Economist at Google is one of the two high level people interviewed in the special issue of the DigiWorld Economics Journal, (Communications & Strategies N°88), which is also dedicated to the theme "Privacy, Openness and Trust). The other interview is done with Isabelle Falque PERROTIN, President CNIL (Fr.)
> More information on the website DigiWorld Summit 2012.