Roku Solidifies No. 1 Position in OTT Streaming

Roku's wild ride on Wall Street angled up sharply last week
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Roku’s wild ride on Wall Street angled up sharply last week, more than 23% as of midday trading on May 9, as the streaming company reported a 51% spike in first quarter revenue to $206.7 million, easily beating analysts’ consensus forecasts of around $189 million.

Roku 4 with voice search BC

In fact, for Roku, now the No. 1 platform for accessing over-the-top content in the living room, last week’s earnings call was a bit of a tour de force.

The Los Gatos, California-based company’s first-quarter “platform” revenue — the money it makes selling ads on AVOD app The Roku Channel, as well as other destinations within its OTT ecosystem — nearly doubled from the $75 million generated a year ago, reaching $134.1 million.

The explosive growth of Roku’s ad sales comes as the business of selling OTT gadgets is still expanding, reaching $72.5 million in Q1 vs. $61.5 million in the comparable 2018 quarter.

Roku said that it is now up to 29.1 million active accounts.

That metric will likely keep growing. Linear pay TV operators shed nearly 1.4 million subscribers in the first quarter, meaning more and more consumers need a living room device of some kind — probably internet protocol-native — in order to replace their cable or satellite set-top.

“New services and customer acquisition campaigns from Disney, Apple and others will help fuel Roku’s growth for years to come,” CEO Anthony Wood told analysts.

Also notable: Roku’s UI is the most popular for powering smart TV sets. “We estimate that more than one in three smart TVs sold in the U.S. in the first quarter were Roku TVs,” Wood said. ”We have taken the lead from Samsung and are now the No. 1 smart TV OS in the country.”

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