Roku streaming hours shrink in Q2

Streaming hours dropped and account sign-ups flattened out as consumers started to get out of the house amid loosened pandemic restrictions, but Roku's total revenues and ARPU numbers continued to climb.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

August 5, 2021

2 Min Read
Roku streaming hours shrink in Q2

It was a mixed bag for Roku in the second quarter of 2021 as total streaming hours shrunk and active account growth flattened, but other aspects of its business – including total revenues and average revenues per user (ARPU) – continued to soar.

Streaming hours on Roku's platform totaled 17.4 billion in Q2 2021, down 1 billion from Q1 2021's totals. In its Q2 letter to investors (PDF) Roku attributed the dip to consumers getting out of the house to dine or travel amid loosening of COVID-19 restrictions.

Roku added another 1.5 million active accounts in Q2, extending that total to 55.1 million. That was relatively flat versus last year's pandemic-driven surge, but was still an improvement over Roku's pre-pandemic results in Q2 2019.

In what's been a common refrain across multiple industries, Roku lamented tight component supply chain conditions and shipping constraints in the quarter. Roku noted that it refrained from raising prices on Roku players, which resulted in gross margins in that category turning negative in the period.

A combination of shrinking streaming hours and flat active account growth concerned investors – Roku shares were down about 8.5% in after-hours trading Wednesday.

But Roku's business appeared healthy otherwise. Total net revenues climbed 81%, to $645 million. That was fueled by 117% growth in Roku's Platform business, which includes advertising and OS licensing for smart TVs. Player-related revenue hit $112.8 million, up just 1% year-over-year.

Meanwhile, advertising growth on Roku's platform helped ARPU leap to $36.46, up 46% from $24.92 a year ago.

Though overall streaming numbers dipped in the period, The Roku Channel, the company's aggregated, ad-supported streaming service, saw its hours more than double year-over-year. Roku attributed some of that growth to a solid start from new original content that includes titles coming way of the company's acquisition of Quibi's library of premium, short-form fare. The company noted that more than one in three users of The Roku Channel streamed a Roku original in the two weeks following launch (May 20 to June 3).

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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