Now reaching more than 40 million U.S. homes, Roku has made a deft transition from its initial focus on hardware to a business today that is more dependent on advertising and licensing revenue. In the quarter ending March 31, the company reported a 55% year-over-year rise in total revenue to $321 million. While Roku doesn’t break out a specific ad-sales number, it has continued to assert that it is positioned to benefit from an overall shift from linear to streaming.
Presenting in virtual form to digital ad buyers Monday, Roku didn’t mince words, saying the future of linear TV is “uncertain” and saying it has been “preparing with our partners for the last five years to meet this moment.”
Among viewers 18 to 34 years old, about 49% of all programming is viewed via the internet as opposed to a traditional linear signal. Pay-TV penetration, accordingly, has dropped to levels not seen since the 1990s.
Roku said its “Agile Investment Plan” for the upfront offers several features designed to maximize control and value. Advertisers can take advantage of free creative services and also have national TV buys go dark in any ZIP code within 24 hours if changes in local regulations make a brand’s message less of a fit. Also, buyers can get a 14-day cancellation period and all advertisers can swap lines of business within their upfront commitment without a penalty.
Another new feature for the upfront is a premium offering allowing advertisers to place ads only in the top 1% of channels on Roku, connecting spots with the most premium content.