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Google and Amazon Bicker: Roku May Win

Competing with the world’s most well capitalized companies, Roku ROKU 0.56% surely appreciates all the help it can get. Some unsolicited and unintentional assistance just came from two of its deep-pocketed rivals. Alphabet , the parent company of Google, and Amazon are escalating a long-running feud over their respective connected TV devices. Google won’t be allowing many of Amazon’s streaming media devices to access YouTube. Amazon has been declining to allow its own Prime Video service to play over Google’s Chromecast devices or to sell those devices on its massive online store.

Roku has an estimated 23% of the connected TV device market in the U.S., according to eMarketer. That gives it a slight lead over both Google and Amazon as well as Apple, the market research firm estimates. But Roku’s best success to date actually has involved a revenue stream other than its player sales. Platform revenue, the sale of advertising and subscriptions, now makes up 46% of sales compared with 27% a year ago, according to the company’s third-quarter earnings release last month.

 

Who's Watching Facebook TV?

When it’s 4 a.m. and you’re jet-lagged, it seems as good a time as any to check out Facebook’s idea of television. A 10-minute video of Bill Murray clowning around in an astronomy classroom. Seven minutes of a reality-show couple arguing about getting their young son a pet snake. Three minutes of animated arachnids explaining how female spiders ward off unwanted sexual advances. It’s enough to send even an exhausted insomniac looking for a more productive use of time.

Among the highlights was Strangers, a fictional series about a 30ish Los Angeles woman working through an identity crisis with the help of people who rent her spare room. Mostly the programs were fine. Few touched on news events or other unpleasant realities. “It’s Facebook trying to figure out what form of video people want to watch,” says Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst for researcher eMarketer.

 

Retailers look to Black Friday to regain momentum

Shops vied to offer the most eye-catching Black Friday bargains as retailers looked to the promotional event to help regain momentum and capture consumer optimism this holiday season. The annual frenzy in the US mirrored the current state of retail: more people chose to shop via smartphone rather than make the trip to the local mall.

Walmart has tripled the number of items it is selling online this year as it looks to compete with Amazon, which still commands 44 cents out of every online purchase in the US, according to eMarketer. The shift online has also made Black Friday a less urgent affair. Walmart unveiled doorbuster deals at its supercentres at 6pm on Thursday, but these discounts had already been available online for hours.