Roku Surges to 51.2 Million Accounts, Reports Unexpected Q4 Profit

Popular streaming device company added 14.3 million accounts in 2020


Roku’s big 2020 didn’t slow down during the holiday season. On Thursday, the streaming device company reported it surpassed 51 million active accounts during Q4, while also turning a surprise profit and beating Wall Street’s sales estimates.

For Q4, Roku added another 5.2 million active accounts, bringing the company to 51.2 million overall by the end of 2020. The company had started the year with a shade less than 37 million active accounts.

“To put our scale in perspective, Roku’s U.S. active account base is now more than twice the number of the U.S. video subscribers of the biggest cable company,” Roku said in its letter to shareholders.

Roku also reported 49 cents earnings per share, coming in well above the 6 cent loss analysts had projected. Sales of $649.9 million also topped projections of $617.7 million. Roku’s Q4 revenue jumped 58% from the same time last year. And while the company is best known for its streaming players, most of its revenue continued to come from its platform business, which includes ad sales and Roku’s cut of streaming subscriptions. Roku’s platform revenue hit $471.2 million, up 81% year-over-year.

The time viewers spent streaming also continued to increase in Q4, with Roku reporting its users watched 17 billion hours of content between October and December — up from the 14.8 billion hours viewers watched during Q3. Roku’s streaming hours average out to each active account streaming for 3.8 hours each day.

Roku’s stock price was up about 1% in after hours trading to $457.43 per share. The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company has been on a meteoric rise over the last year, with its share price running from less than $100 per share last March to nearly $500 per share earlier this month.

In its letter to shareholders, Roku said it was “pleased” with its 2020 growth, before warning the COVID-19 pandemic provided a “level of uncertainty” that makes it difficult to project business moving forward. The company guided for about $485 million in Q1 2021 sales.

Perhaps most notably during Q4, Roku struck a distribution deal with HBO Max, bringing the service onboard just days before “Wonder Woman 1984” debuted on Christmas. The deal came a few months after Roku similarly reached an agreement with NBCUniversal to carry its Peacock streaming service, after it wasn’t on Roku when the service initially launched. Roku also surprised some people earlier this year when it bought more than 75 shows from Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s now-defunct mobile streaming service, in an effort to beef up The Roku Channel, its free, ad-supported platform. (You can read more about that deal and what it means in terms of Roku’s long-term original content plans here.)

Looking ahead, Roku appears ready to start producing its own shows and movies. Earlier this week, a job listing from Roku opened up, with the company looking for a lead production attorney who will be focused on building out the company’s “expanding slate of original content.”

Roku will hold a call at 2 p.m. PT to discuss its Q4 report.

More to come…


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