It appears that Google underestimated the demand that its new $35 video doodad would generate in more ways than one.
Google has scuttled a promotion that offered three months of Netflix with the purchase of Chromecast, a HDMI streaming stick that ships over-the-top video from Netflix, YouTube and other Web-sourced content to the TV and is controlled by a smartphone, tablet or PC.
"Due to overwhelming demand for Chromecast devices since launch, the 3-month Netflix promotion (which was available in limited quantities) is no longer available," Google told the Los Angeles Times, in a statement.
Netflix declined to comment because it was a promotion led by Google.
But Google decision to shut down the promo presents more evidence that Chromecast’s small price paired with some free Netflix, has stirred up a bit of a consumer frenzy.
Amazon.com is already out of stock, though, amusingly, one seller is trying to hawk a “used” Chromecast for $70. As of early Thursday evening, BestBuy.com indicated that it’s also sold out of the device.
Consumers who try to buy a Chromecast via the Google Play Store are in for a three to four week wait.
Chromecast is being viewed by some as a competitive threat to Roku and the Apple TV device.
But Colin Dixon, the chief analyst and founder of nScreenMedia, sees different key drivers, believing the price and simplicity of the Chromecast dongle will do a better job with helping Google create a story for YouTube and its lineup of ad-supported and new subscription-based video streaming channels than it has been able to achieve via more traditional connected TVs and the much-maligned Google TV device.
“Not being on the television is really tough for Google; this gets them there,” Dixon said of the Chromecast. “I do not see this as a threat to those other boxes. It’s just an easy way to get video from your phone to the TV.”
But he also believes the Chromecast will have a relatively short shelf life, as the functionality it offers will ultimately get built directly into TVs.
Dixon is also convinced that Hulu will block access to Chromecast, something the Web TV hub has done before.
More about Chromecast and Google’s strategy for it will be featured in the July 29 issue of Multichannel News.