Roku told investors today that it added around 3 million active users in the first quarter, upping total participants in its OTT device ecosystem to 39.8 million.
(Roku is the leading OTT ecosystem in the U.S. But Amazon's Fire TV, which reported 40 million global users in January, leads the international market.)
With the tail-end of the Q1 period marked by altered shelter-in-place viewing habits, total hours spent streaming video via Roku was up year over year by 49% to 13.2 billion. Sequentially, viewership was actually down from Q4, but Roku attributed much of this to a new "Are You Still Watching?" feature that shuts down measurement if a user isn't actually tuned in anymore.
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Roku isn’t slated to present first-quarter earnings until May 7. But the rapid deceleration of the global economy is forcing it and a lot of other companies to revise their full-year 2020 forecasts.
For the first quarter, Roku expects revenue to be slightly higher than originally projecting, coming in between $307 - $317 million. Losses (between $55 million - $60 million) and the rest of the other key Q1 metrics should be in line with guidance.
Beyond that? Hard to tell, given the hazy economic outlook wrought by the pandemic.
“While we believe that our offerings to consumers, content providers and advertisers will enable our company to deliver value in these uncertain times, the wider business and consumer impacts, as well as the duration of the pandemic, are unclear and thus we are withdrawing our prior 2020 outlook,” said Roku CFO Steve Louden, in a statement.
Added Roku CEO Anthony Wood: “Consumers are turning to Roku now more than ever. As the leading TV streaming platform in the U.S., Roku is proud to provide easy access to live news, free movies and TV, great paid content, and helpful programming for individuals and families who are sheltering at home. We have been working closely with advertisers to help update their plans to reflect new viewing patterns and adjust their overall marketing mix which has been affected by social distancing. While we expect some marketers to pause or reduce ad investments in the near term, we believe that the targeted and measurable TV ads and unique sponsorship capabilities that Roku offers are highly beneficial to brands today.”