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Roku CFO Louden: We Are Not Like a Cable Company

Roku CFO Steven Louden
Roku CFO Steven Louden (Image credit: Roku)

While Roku has recently engaged in a series of distribution impasses that have kept the apps of numerous content companies off its platform, the streaming company’s CFO insisted that these emerging kerfuffles are very different from the “blackout wars” routinely waged between cable operators and programming networks. 

“The streaming world is different from the legacy cable world,” Steven Louden said Wednesday, speaking at the Citi 2021 Global TMT West Virtual Conference. 

“Cable companies are already charging consumers a lot of money per month. And negotiations with content companies are to slice up the pie,” Louden added. “But there is no access fee for Roku. Our mindset is that there is a lot of value to be created on our platform, and we can help you do that. It just takes a while to get to mutually agreeable spot sometimes.”

Roku notably enraged in lengthy negotiations last year with NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia, delaying the availability of these media companies’ respective new streaming services, Peacock and HBO Max, on the No. 1 streaming platform in the U.S., Roku. 

Louden made his comments shortly after Roku executives rang the bell on the New York Stock Exchange -- an event itself shortly preceded by the company announcing that it reached 51.2 million active users in the fourth quarter. 

Also Read: Roku Finishes 2020 with 51.2 Million Active Accounts

Roku will finish trading Wednesday on the Nasdaq up around 2.75% for the day, its market capitalization approaching $44 billion. 

For his part, Louden was also asked by Citi analyst Jason Bazinet about how close Roku is to taking a more significant share of the $120 billion TV advertising pie. 

“As far as advertising goes, we’re still in the very early days,” Louden said. “TV ad budgets are probably in the single digits in terms of movement.”