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Roku ends 2019 with 36.9M 'active' accounts, still can't catch Amazon Fire TV

Roku saw revenues and usage figures soar in Q4 2019 as streaming continued to take hold with consumers and with Roku's various media and advertising partners.

Roku said "active" accounts climbed 36%, to 36.9 million in Q4. That total still trails Amazon Fire TV, which, as of last month, had more than 40 million active users.

Streaming hours on Roku players and integrated Roku TVs jumped 60%, to 11.7 billion, in Q4.

Roku's Platforms business now represents the bulk of the company's revenues, though revenues derived from its streaming media players were strong in Q4 2019 thanks to a strong holiday buying season.
Roku's Platforms business now represents the bulk of the company's revenues, though revenues derived from its streaming media players were strong in Q4 2019 thanks to a strong holiday buying season.

Roku attributed the rise in overall streaming to increasing investments in original programming that's exclusive to OTT outlets. "This is driving more viewers to spend more time streaming and less time in traditional pay TV, and many consumers are leaving the legacy pay TV ecosystem entirely," Roku noted in its Q4 investor letter (PDF). "We predict that by 2024 roughly half of all US TV households will have cut the cord or never had traditional pay TV."

Aided by its subscription and advertising business, Roku's average revenue per unit reached $23.14 in Q4, up 29%.

Roku also pulled down total Q4 revenues of $411.2 million, up 42% versus the year-ago period, beating Wall Street expectations of $392 million. Revenues from Roku's Platforms division (encompassing advertising, subscription revenue sharing and license fees from TV makers that use the Roku operating system) continued to dominate, raking in $259.6 million in Q4, up 71%. A strong holiday buying season helped revenues in Roku's Player division (encompassing its retail hardware) surge 22%, to $151.6 million, in Q4.

For full 2019, Roku net revenues rocketed 52%, to $1.12 billion, with $740.8 million coming from its Platforms business. Roku added 9.8 million incremental active accounts for 2019, while streaming hours reached a record 40.3 billion for the full year.

Looking ahead, Roku expects Q1 2020 revenues of $300 million to $310 million, up from $275.7 million in Q1 2019, alongside a net loss in the range of $55 million to $60 million. For full 2020, Roku anticipates revenues of $1.58 billion to $1.62 billion and a net loss of $160 million to $180 million.

Roku shares were up $7.59 (5.46%) to $146.64 each in after-hours trading Thursday.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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