If someone wants to knock Roku off its perch atop the U.S. streaming market, they're got some serious work to do. Roku's Q1 earnings report this week showed strong growth, even more remarkable given that the company makes more than a third of its yearly revenue in Q4.
Roku entered April 2018 with 20.8 million active accounts, the company reported, up some 47 percent year over year. And half of the new accounts were from "licensed sources" — mostly Roku-powered televisions.
All those accounts are watching a lot of video, too, with some 5.1 billion hours viewed on a Roku device in the first quarter — up 56 percent from 2017.
And Roku remains series about being the operating system of choice for TV manufactures. (With Amazon Fire TV and Google's Android TV being the only other major licensees, of course; Samsung and LG keep their OSes for themselves.) A quarter of all smart TVs sold in the U.S. run Roku, the company said, up from one in five a year ago.
Roku believes that "virtually every TV OEM will eventually need to license a TV OS, as consumers shift to smart TVs with 4K displays, and as OEMs focus on both cutting costs and boosting customer satisfaction." And it noted that it powers TV that span the extremes of consumer pricing, from $150 entry-level TVs to thousand-dollar models like the new TCL 6-Series.
Roku also said that it's looking at expanding the reach of its new "Roku Channel," which has broached the top 15 of the platform's channel offerings based on the number of hours streaming — and it's the third-highest free ad-supported channel on Roku.
"We believe there is a significant opportunity to take The Roku Channel beyond the Roku OS platform to other large-scale platforms," Roku rounder and CEO Anthony Wood, and CFO Steve Louden wrote in their shareholders letter released on May 9.
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