Roku Posts Record Q1 Revenue, Active Accounts, Minutes Streamed

Roku May 6 said its grew first quarter (ended March 31) active accounts 35% year-over-year to a record 53.6 million from 39.8 million accounts, driven by sales of players and Roku TV models in both the U.S. and international markets. Roku users streamed a record 18.3 billion hours, an increase of 49% year-over-year from 12.3 million. Prior to lapping COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in mid-March, both active account and streaming hour year-over-year growth rates were trending ahead of those in Q4 2020.

On The Roku Channel, the streaming media device manufacturer drove another quarter of record growth, reaching U.S. households with an estimated 70 million people. Account reach and streaming hours on the AVOD platform more than doubled year-over-year — a growth rate that is over twice as fast as the overall Roku platform.

“Our exceptional performance in Q1 demonstrates how our business model serves consumers, content owners, and advertisers alike in the TV ecosystem,” founder/CEO Anthony Wood and CFO Steve Louden wrote in the shareholder letter. “Though there will be difficult COVID-19-related comparisons in 2021, we believe that the shift to streaming is inevitable. It will be global and will transform the way content is distributed and monetized.”

Report: First-Quarter Streaming Video Use Cools; Roku Market Share Dips

Streaming video continues to resonate with consumers globally, albeit not as strongly as last year when the pandemic was in its infancy, resulting in the abrupt closure of movie theaters, sporting events and sequestering consumers in their homes.

New data from Conviva found that viewing time grew 36% during the first quarter, ended March 31, compared to the previous-year period when streaming video growth topped 57%.

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While North America, the world’s biggest streaming market, saw solid 18% year-over-year growth in streaming viewing, that was down from 57% last year, which included South America. The true streaming explosion occurred internationally, with South America (up 240%), Africa (149% vs. 25%) and Europe (+122% vs. 70%) experiencing triple-digit growth.

Data for the report was primarily collected from Conviva’s proprietary sensor technology currently embedded in 3.3 billion streaming video applications, measuring in excess of 500 million unique viewers watching 180 billion streams per year with 1.5 trillion real-time transactions per day across more than 180 countries.

The report also revealed that as more consumers are migrating to connected TV devices, smart-TVs and gaming consoles (73% market share), current device leaders Roku and Amazon Fire TV’s share of the streaming device market is eroding.

Roku and Amazon Fire TV saw a slight decline (2.9% and 3.6% respectively) in share of viewing time in Q1, as international viewing and smart-TVs continued to surge globally. While Roku captured a significant 30% share of global big-screen viewing time, this dominance was primarily driven by North America, where it commanded 37% share in Q1. In Europe, Roku’s second-largest market, Roku accounted for only 8% share of the big screen, and it did not fare any better in other regions, with 4% share or less in Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America.

“In every region in the world, streaming viewership is growing, representing a global shift in the way people consume content,” Bill Demas, CEO of Conviva, said in a statement. “This rapidly expanding international audience has created an enormous opportunity for content developers, device manufacturers and advertisers to engage new audiences as the brands and publishers who understand exactly how, when and where people are streaming, will inevitably triumph.”

According to Conviva, there is significant variation in the way consumers in different regions stream on TV screens. In Africa, where TV screens represent 56% of all viewing time, the CanalPlus set-top box was the preferred device, with 54% share of all Q1 screen viewing time. In Asia, Android TV held 49% of all Q1 screen viewing time, while in North America, where TV screens are responsible for 81% of all viewing time, Roku continued to dominate with 37% share. In Europe, screen viewing time was divided relatively equally among devices, while in Oceania, Chromecast ruled with 24% and in South America, Samsung TV held 30% share of TV screen viewing.

Social platforms continue to deliver strong return-on-investment (ROI) for streaming publishers, delivering new audiences and increased engagement. The total number of posts from streaming publishers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube combined grew 99% in Q1 2021 as compared to Q1 2020, with total videos increasing 39% and total engagements increasing 24%. Audience growth across all social platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok, grew 61% year over year.

 

 

Samba TV Hires Ex-Roku Executive Tim Natividad

Analytics firm Samba TV April 14 announced the appointment of Tim Natividad to SVP of agency and brand solutions, an executive position to bolster the company’s relationship with marketers around the world. Natividad previously held senior management positions at Roku, Amazon and Google.

Tim Natividad

“We admire Tim’s track record of scaling global technology platforms that benefit marketers, the platform, and consumers,” Ashwin Navin, co-founder/CEO of Samba TV, said in a statement. “We look forward to bringing his seasoned leadership and counsel to our agency and brand clients as they navigate the transition from traditional to connected television, with a more scientific approach to advertising.”

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Before Samba TV, Natividad was the head of performance advertising at Roku, where he focused on digital advertising solutions, including real-time measurement, targetability, and flexible buying models.

Natividad also served as the head of global search and performance advertising sales at Amazon at a time when e-commerce giant was making its first foray into advertising sales. While at Amazon, Natividad built Amazon’s search advertising business into $1 billion global business. At Google, he managed teams delivering video and display advertising solutions, as well as insights measuring the performance of advertising.

“From the outside in, what always struck me and my colleagues about Samba was the company’s innate ability to move quickly and monetize successfully in a market that is constantly shifting,” Natividad said in a statement. “Their leadership as a first-party data provider in this accelerating CTV space is unrivaled by others in the market, and the advertising industry has taken note.”

Roku Bows 4K+ Streaming Device, Rechargeable Voice Remote, Updates Operating System, Among Other Changes

Roku April 13 unveiled the all-new Roku Express 4K+ ($39.99), which offers 4K streaming and the Roku Voice Remote Pro ($29.99), which features a rechargeable battery, lost remote finder and voice controls for users looking to upgrade their streaming experience.

The Roku Express 4K is a Walmart exclusive in the United States and features a basic Roku remote for just $35. This model will also be available in Canada, Mexico and the U.K. in the coming weeks.

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The Express 4K+ features Roku OS 10, which introduces a variety of new features getting users to content faster, improving network and input configurations, offering new ways to customize the experience and performance enhancements.

“The new Roku Express 4K+ is a huge value in 4K streaming as 4K has become a benchmark in technology and entertainment,” Mark Ely, VP of retail product strategy at Roku, said in a statement. “The Roku Voice Remote Pro is delivering on major consumer pain points with rechargeability and the voice activated lost remote finder. We believe consumers are going to be impressed with the quality they can get from Roku at these price points.”

Roku also launched an updated Streambar Pro ($179.99), billing it as an evolution of the Roku Smart Soundbar. It features two-in-one 4K streaming and cinematic sound and includes a Roku Voice Remote with personal shortcut buttons and private listening, Roku headphones and the new Virtual Surround feature.

The subscription streaming video market co-founder (with Netflix) is also offering a 30-day free trial of AMC+ on FAST platform The Roku Channel through July 2. The service costs $8.99 monthly after the free trial.

Roku Scored Big at Final Four March Madness

As a leading gateway linking consumers with streaming video on the television, Roku April 7 disclosed final data from the just-concluded NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament that saw TV streaming reach increase by 86.6% and hours watched increase by 75.4% compared with 2019.

By comparison, nearly 60% of 2019 traditional linear TV tournament viewers on Roku did not return to traditional TV to watch in 2021. The tournament is the latest example of consumers opting to view live sports via streaming after a pandemic induced pause.

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Roku tracked domestic households using a branded Internet-connected television that streamed channels carrying tournament games during time of gameplay. The reach of national semifinal viewing of UCLA vs. Gonzaga and Baylor vs. Houston via TV streaming skyrocketed 86.2% since 2019, while hours viewing increased by 86.1%. Streaming households also saw younger viewers as 80.4% of TV streaming was by people between the ages of 18 and 49.

“Nearly six out of 10 traditional linear-TV viewers did not return to watch this year’s [March Madness] on traditional TV. This is the latest example of the transformation shift occurring in TV viewing behavior,” Kristina Shepard, national brand team lead at Roku, said in a statement. “What we’re seeing is reflective of a change taking place across all the major sports as they returned from a pandemic induced pause. Marketers looking to continue reaching mass audiences through live sports must shift their focus towards TV streaming.”

Indeed, through the Final Four (April 3), traditional linear-TV viewers over the age of 18 declined about 23%, while 25% of all traditional linear-TV viewers of the tournament in 2019 streamed games in 2021 on Roku devices.

Not surprisingly, the higher the seed of the team in a school’s television market, the higher the percentage of households that tuned in.

Spokane, Wash., home to Gonzaga, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, saw 46.6% of households stream via Roku connected device. Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas (home to Baylor, the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament) saw 26.5%; followed by University of Houston (a regional two-seed) at 22.9%; while Los Angeles (UCLA, an 11-seed) tracked 19.5%.

The average Spokane household watched 13 hours through the Final Four, an increase of 3.25 hours per household in 2019. Los Angeles households watched an average of 7.2 hours, up 1.8 hours per household from 2019.

The average Spokane household watched 54 more minutes of the UCLA/Gonzaga game vs the average Los Angeles household (in spite of a very close game that ended with a three-point shot in overtime). Los Angeles viewers tuned out more than their Spokane rivals after the ending: 18.4% of Los Angeles households that watched the game tuned out five minutes after Gonzaga’s game-winning shot; 7.4% of Spokane households tuned out during the same period. Finally, 44.7% of Spokane households tuned out when all coverage ended vs. 21.6% of LA households.

 

Roku: March Madness Streaming Up 88%

TV Streaming continues to score big during the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Nearly 60% traditional linear TV viewers did not return to watch the tournament via traditional TV, while TV streaming reach shot up 88% and hours viewed spiked 89%, compared to 2019, according to new data from Roku.

“After a year without [March Madness], fans were eager to welcome the games back and they did so through TV streaming,” Kristina Shepard, National Brand Team Lead at Roku, said in a statement. “The overwhelming viewership turnout we’re seeing on TV streaming showcases that streaming not only delivers audiences at scale, but it has become the preferred way for fans watch live sport events.”

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Specifically, Roku said TV streaming reach during Sweet 16 games was up 95% vs. 2019, while TV streaming reach during Elite Eight games was up 90% vs. 2019.

TV streaming captured viewership across the age spectrum. Shift in age distribution occurred at both extremes — 2021 streaming households were +14% more likely than 2019 streaming households to contain someone 18-24 and +22% more likely to contain someone 65+.

Indeed, Roku found that 59% of households that watched any of the rounds through the Elite Eight have not watched the tournament on traditional linear TV in 2021.

Roku said younger audiences continue to pivot from traditional linear TV, with TV reach for persons 18+ down 24% through the Elite Eight. Traditional linear TV reach for Sweet 16 was down 34% vs. 2019, while linear TV reach for Elite Eight was down 32% vs. 2019.

Users who did watch on linear, watched fewer games. The average traditional linear TV household has watched 6.5 games and 5.1 hours, vs. 6.66 games and 4.5 hours through the 2019 Elite Eight.

Roku: College Basketball Streaming Madness Increased 85%

With the 2021 College Basketball National Championship Tournament down to the Final Four, Roku has released new data that found TV streaming audiences increased by 85% throughout March Madness while traditional linear TV viewership is down 61% from 2019.
Ahead of the First Four (rounds one and two), Roku saw record users streaming games on its platform — underscoring the notion that TV streaming is growing in popularity and rivaling broadcast in viewership.

Comparing 2019 to 2021 on Roku, household reach of TV streaming channels carrying the first rounds of tournament games increased 85%, while hours streamed grew 74%. First four reach grew 57%, while the first round grew 83%. Second-round reach grew 97%, with the first and second rounds’ combined reach growing 89%; hours streamed grew 91%.

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The Final Four on April 3 will feature Gonzaga vs. UCLA, and Baylor vs. Houston, with the winners playing for the National Championship on April 5. The games will be streamed across TBS, CBS, and TNT

  • On TBS:
  • On CBS:
    • Paramount+
    • Available in select markets with a subscription to AT&T TV, fuboTV, Hulu with Live TV, and YouTube TV
  • On TNT:
    • March Madness Live (cable or satellite subscription required)
    • With a subscription to AT&T TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV
  • On truTV:
    • March Madness Live (cable or satellite subscription required)
    • With a subscription to AT&T TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV

 

Roku Dominates ‘March Madness’ Streaming

With the 2021 NCAA College Basketball National Championship Tournament, a.k.a. March Madness, readying for the Sweet 16 elimination rounds, sports fans are increasingly streaming games via standalone media devices and connected televisions. The opening round set new records with more than a billion minutes streamed across 32 games in just two days, according to new data from Conviva.

The tournament thus far reveals an ongoing trend streaming games on the big TV screen. Historically the first day of round one sees the most viewership. This held true this year as day one netted 15% more time spent streaming than day two, according to the report.

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Streaming on television increased significantly in the first two rounds to 68% share of time spent in round one, from 48% in 2019 and just 41% in the opening days of 2018. While streaming games on the PC lost market share, the increase in TV consumption comes primarily at the expense of mobile viewing, which decreased to less than half the share held during the previous March Madness. The report attributed this to the pandemic-trend of in-home viewing and the overall, multiyear trend of increased streaming via televisions.

More than 40% of the tournament thus far has been streamed on TVs through Roku devices, followed by Amazon Fire TV (26%), Samsung TV (10%), and Apple TV with 8% share. LG TV and Xbox each tallied 4% share, with Chromecast picking up 3%. Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio, Android TV, and PlayStation lagged behind the field with under 2% share of viewing time.

Conviva reported that social media engagements per post rose an average of 164% for teams in round one as compared to the regular season. Teams tallied 3 million total cross-platform engagements over just two days in the first round of the tournament, with Wisconsin, Syracuse, and Illinois taking the top three spots for total cross-platform engagements.

March Madness often vaults unexpected teams into national view. This year it’s Oral Roberts with 15 times the number of social media engagements per post versus the regular season, and leading in cross-platform, Twitter, and Instagram engagement rates.

Roku Launches Ad Studio Ahead of TV Upfronts 

Roku March 23 announced the launch of an advertising brand studio to produce new creative ad formats and TV programming tailored for marketers.

The advertising brand studio will help marketers go beyond the traditional 30-second TV ad spot and amplify big moments in the marketing calendar, including advertiser-commissioned short-form TV programs, interactive video ads, and other branded content on The Roku Channel.

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“The shift to TV streaming has accelerated and leading advertisers are going beyond the 30-second ad,” Dan Robbins, VP of ad marketing, said in a statement. “We’re excited to … create streamer-first campaigns on America’s No. 1 TV streaming platform.”

In launching the studio, Roku has completed an agreement with the Funny Or Die Branded Entertainment division in which a number of the company’s branded content team members will join Roku. Industry veterans Chris Bruss and Brian Toombs from Funny Or Die and Rachel Daly Helfman from Snap Inc. will join Roku’s Patrick Colletto in leadership roles for the advertising brand studio. The executives have crafted award-winning content for advertisers such as Kroger, Lyft, Ralph Lauren, Wendy’s and more.

TV streaming has creative flexibility that goes beyond what traditional linear TV can offer to marketers. The new advertising brand studio will build on Roku’s existing offerings, which include sponsorships and native ads such as this year’s TurboTax partnership that will bring the 2021 March College Hoops Hub to life in TV streaming. In partnership with Roku, the brand built a College Basketball Game Guide on the Roku platform that not only unlocked free college basketball content for streamers, but also invited streamers to try to beat the buzzer across their TV and phone with an augmented reality lens.

Immersive branded experiences drive incremental value for both marketers and consumers today. A 2020 study by MAGNA, Roku and IPG Media Lab, “Valuing the Value Exchange,” found that these branded experiences, alongside video advertising, generate 4X greater purchase intent than video advertising alone.

“Branded experiences on the Roku platform helped us shift ad budgets quickly to TV streaming and go beyond traditional advertising to move the needle on purchase consideration,” said Lisa McQueen, media manager of Lexus. “We’re thrilled to collaborate with Roku for a world-class, hands-on production experience for our streaming TV advertising campaigns seen by millions of streamers.”

Roku will unveil additional details, partners and advertising projects at its IAB NewFronts presentation on May 3.

Roku Acquires ‘This Old House’ Business

Roku has acquired the “This Old House” business, including its global distribution rights and all of its subsidiary brands, including the “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House” TV programs, the show libraries, all digital assets, and the television production studio.

“This Old House” and “Ask This Old House” were the two top-rated home improvement programs in the United States in 2020, according to Nielsen data, and have earned a total of 19 Emmy Awards and 102 nominations, according to a Roku press release. Past seasons of “This Old House” and “Ask This Old House” are already available for free on The Roku Channel through both linear and on demand programming. Current seasons (“This Old House” season 42 and “Ask This Old House” season 19) are available for free on The Roku Channel as on demand episodes after they air on local PBS stations.

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“As the top-rated home improvement programs in America, ‘This Old House’ has the broad appeal that is perfectly suited to support The Roku Channel’s ad-supported growth strategy,” Rob Holmes, Roku VP of programming, said in a statement. “‘This Old House’ created the television home improvement genre and is beloved by millions of fans. We are thrilled to welcome this incredible team, and we could not be more excited to help grow the brand for an entire new generation of home improvement enthusiasts.”

“The passion of the craftspeople on ‘This Old House’ is matched only by its viewers, and we take great pride that over the past four decades we have helped them improve their most valuable asset — their home,” Dan Suratt, CEO, This Old House Ventures, said in a statement. “Roku is not only the No. 1 TV streaming platform in America, it also represents the future of TV, and we could not think of a better home for ‘This Old House’ to grow and to continue its leadership position in the home improvement genre.”

“This Old House,” which marked its 40th Anniversary in 2019, has broad distribution that “enables fans to find the authoritative voice in home improvement on their platform of choice, and makes the shows an ideal partner for leading national brands seeking to reach the attractive home improvement consumer segment,” stated the Roku press release.

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Roku plans to expand both the production and distribution of the “This Old House” brand, according to the press release.

Roku acquired TOH Intermediate Holdings, which owns the “This Old House” business, from TZP Group. The executive team of “This Old House” will join Roku, including CEO Dan Suratt. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.