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Roku Hits 50M Active Account Milestone; CEO Talks Competition, Strategy

Roku Hits 50M Active Account Milestone; CEO Talks Competition, Strategy

Roku Inc. (NASDAQ: ROKU) shares are trading higher after the company announced a milestone of 50 million active accounts on its streaming video platform.

The Numbers: Roku said preliminary estimated data shows the company ended 2020 with a net gain of 14 million active accounts at 51.2 million. The company also estimated fourth-quarter streaming hours of 58.7 billion, up 55% year-on-year.

"I'm excited that more than 50 million households now turn to Roku for their TV viewing," said Roku CEO Anthony Wood. "The world is moving to streaming and we look forward to continuing to help viewers, advertisers, content publishers, and TV manufacturers succeed in the Streaming Decade."

'Here To Stay': Streaming video technology is "here to stay" yet the new age of watching TV and movies still "has a long way to go," Wood said in a CNBC interview. While hitting 50 million active accounts on the Roku platform is certainly a major milestone, it's a small fraction of the 1 billion broadband households around the world.

As each year passes, the number of households that cut the cord will grow to the point where "eventually no one is going to watch TV" the way it was consumed prior to streaming, the CEO said.

Related Link: Roku In Advanced Talks To Grab Beleaguered Quibi's Content Library: WSJ

Beating Competitors: Roku has faced an uphill battle since day one in competing against much larger rivals. Management's focus has always been on "building the best streaming platform," including creating the only software platform built specifically for TVs.

"Our competitors all use software they designed for mobile and they ported it to TV," he said. "We built something from the beginning just for TV."

The latest user metric updates certainly show Roku is competing successfully against major tech rivals, he said.

Original Content: Roku never acknowledged publicly any plans to invest in its own original content, Wood said, but the company is very much interested in finding ways to add new and exciting content to the Roku Channel so the library remains fresh.

Instead, Roku sees itself as the "biggest distribution platform" for other content makers, such as Walt Disney Co's (NYSE: DIS) Disney+. Of course, Roku stands to collect revenue from each new user that signs up to Disney+ and other services through its platform.

"We have business relationships with all those companies and it's a great business for us," he said.

Roku's stock traded up 3.5% to $347 at publication time.


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