Investors sent Roku shares up 9% during the trading day on bullish expectations for first-quarter earnings, and the streaming company did not disappoint after the closing bell, beating Wall Street analysts’ estimates with a landmark quarter.
The company reported a net loss for the quarter of 7 cents a share, which was smaller than analysts’ consensus of 15 cents. Total revenue exceeded estimates, gaining 36% over the year-ago period to $136.6 million.
In a noteworthy development, this was the first quarter in the company’s history in which revenue from its platform division exceeded revenue from its player revenue, meaning the streaming boxes and dongles it began selling years ago. Platform revenue more than doubled compared with the year-ago quarter, reaching $75.1 million. Profit from platform side, long a key driver, comprised 85% of quarterly profit.
Initially a device play selling inexpensive and well-designed boxes and streaming sticks enabling streaming, Roku has gained ground as overall streaming has increased. Total streaming hours hit 5.1 billion, up 56%, and average revenue per user (ARPU) shot up 50% to $15.07.
Roku has found fertile ground to be licensing its user interface to smart TV makers and others and also deriving advertising revenue from its ecosystems.
In a letter to shareholders accompanying the results, founder and CEO Anthony Wood and CFO Steve Louden signaled strong gains in what they called “our purpose-built TV operating system and advertising platform.” They noted that nearly half of Roku’s 21 million active users have cut the cord or have never been pay-TV subscribers, “which means that they simply cannot be reached through linear TV. This makes our strategic position in the living room extremely valuable.”