Set-top steaming device company Roku filed for an initial public offering on Friday as it looks to raise almost $100 million through the sale of common stock. The IPO gives an idea as to how well the company is doing and shows that, while it has plenty of active accounts, Roku still isn’t making money.
As more people continue to sever ties with their cable or satellite TV providers, Roku has taken advantage of the large number of cord cutters. “TV streaming’s disruptive content distribution model is shifting billions of dollars of economic value. Roku is capitalizing on this large economic opportunity,” the company states in its filing.
Roku says it had 15.1 million active accounts at the end of June and streams 3.5 billion hours of content each quarter, a jump of 60 percent year-over-year. After making $162.3 million in revenue during the first six months of last year, it has increased the figure to $199.7 million in the same period in 2017. Annual YoY revenue has also increased, from $319 million to $398 million, while average revenue per unit is up 35 percent to $11.22.
Even though 37 percent of streaming media players owned by U.S. broadband households are Roku devices (as of Q1 2017), and despite the increasing revenue figures, the company is still not profitable. It lost $43.4 million during 2016, and reported a net loss of $24.2 million in the first six months of this year.
Part of the reason Roku is losing money is due to the amount it spends on research and development. It invested $48.1 million in R&D during the first six months of 2017, 25 percent more than the same period last year. Roku will no doubt be hoping the large budgets will ultimately be worth it.
Another issue facing Roku are the two services its users most regularly access: Netflix and YouTube. One-third of all the hours streamed on the Roku platform in 2016 - and the first half of 2017 - came from Netflix, but it receives little money from the streaming site. And while YouTube is its most-viewed ad-supported channel, Roku doesn’t make any money from it.