Roku Reaps Record $650 Million in Q4 Revenue as Advertising Sales Spike 81%

(Image credit: Roku)

Roku capped a transformative 2020 with another boffo quarter, finishing the last three months of the year with a record $649.9 million of total revenue, up 58% year over year.

Roku also saw a 58% revenue bump for the full pandemic year, taking in $1.778 billion. That surpassed the $1.6 billion guidance the company stated at the beginning of 2020.

Roku reported a $65.2 million net profit for the quarter--Wall Street had expected a loss.

The Silicon Valley giant’s market capitalization now stands at nearly $57.5 billion, having transformed itself from hardware/software technology company into an emerging giant in OTT advertising.

The “platform revenue” half of its value equation, driven mainly by ad sales on the fast-expanding Roku Channel, grew by 71% in 2020, reaching $1.268 billion. In the fourth quarter alone, platform revenue increased by 81% to $471.2 million. 

Also read: Roku Staffs Up to Produce Original Shows

Roku’s ad-supported business whizzed past the company’s legacy technology segment back in 2019. Selling players, streaming sticks and smart speakers, as well as the operating system that powers them, is still a big business for Roku, generating $178.7 million in the fourth quarter, up 18% year over year. 

The company also said that 38% of the smart TV’s sold in the U.S. are powered by its OS. 

Roku already leaked a major Q4 milestone back in January—it finished the year with 51.2 million active accounts. Notably, during its teleconference with investment analysts Thursday, Roku noted that its user reach is more than double the size of the biggest U.S. pay TV operators. That's true--the biggest U.S. pay TV company, Comcast, now has just under 20 million video customers. 

According to Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood, the Roku Channel now reaches 63 million viewers across its households in the U.S., Canada and the UK.

"Our primary impediment to growth at this point is the behavior of TV buyers," he said, noting that most TV dollars still go to linear networks. 

Advertisers spent $65 billion on linear TV last year, Roku noted, even though linear viewership cratered another 21%. The three biggest broadcast networks have a median age of older than 60 now, while 18-34-year-old viewers are streaming more than half the TV they watch. 

On Thursday, it also touted a major increased in average revenue per user—up $5.62 year over year to $28.76 for 2020.

Hours spent streaming on the Roku platform increased massively during the pandemic year, the company added—up 20.9 billion hours over 2019 to 58.7 billion.  

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!