Roku Glides Past Wall Street Q4 Expectations As Streaming Continues Its March

Roku continues to ride the streaming wave. The company reported fourth-quarter results ahead of Wall Street expectations as revenue shot up 58% from a year ago to just shy of $650 million.

Income from operations swung from a loss of $17.4 million in the year-earlier quarter to a profit of $65.2 million, or 13 cents a share. Wall Street analysts had expected a net loss of 5 cents a share and revenue of $619 million, according to FactSet.

Users streamed 17 billion hours in the quarter, Roku said, and more than 58 billion hours in 2020, with both numbers representing a 55% year-over-year increase. The company’s interface is in 38% of all smart-TVs made in the U.S.,

Roku has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of lockdowns due to Covid-19. The company added some 14 million active users in 2020, ending the year with 51 million active accounts. Its stock is up 37% in 2021 to date and has rocketed almost 300% over the past year.

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The quarter, which ended December 31, was an active one. The company completed a long-awaited distribution deal with WarnerMedia for HBO Max. It also negotiated the acquisition of Quibi’s programming, announcing that deal in January.

In its quarterly letter to shareholders, the company said it is continuing to benefit from an overall shift of advertising dollars from linear TV to streaming. “Despite a pandemic-related advertising slowdown in the U.S., our advertising business proved resilient,” the letter said, “with Q4 Roku monetized video advertising impressions more than doubling year-over-year.”

The company does not break out a specific line item for ad revenue, but total platform revenue — which includes advertising — soared 81% in the quarter.

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