With more people staying at home, streaming viewership is hitting an all-time high. And Roku believes that the move away from traditional cable and satellite subscriptions is here to stay.
"We do believe that these trends related to the coronavirus and the resulting economic uncertainty are actually accelerants for the longer-term trend towards streaming in terms of cord-cutting and advertising content and budgets moving over to the streaming world," Roku CFO Steve Louden told Cheddar.
Roku reported its latest earnings on Thursday, and the company posted a loss per share of 45 cents, in line with Refinitiv analyst estimates. However, it beat revenue expectations, bringing in $321 million, ahead of the $307 million analyst projections.
Despite the strong quarter, shares were down more than 7 percent by the end of trading on Friday due to the company's admission it was expecting lower than expected platform revenue due to brands pulling back on advertising spending as a result of the coronavirus. Last year, about two-thirds of Roku's revenue came from its platforms business.
"Certainly U.S. advertising spend is declining, and we're not immune to that," Louden said.
However, there are some bright spots for the company. Streaming hours increased 1.6 billion last quarter, up 49 percent year-year-over. The company also added 2.9 million active accounts during the last quarter. It now has 39.8 million total accounts, up 37 percent year-over-year.
The trends continued in April, with streaming hours growing 80 percent year-over-year, Louden added. It reached a milestone of 40 million accounts last month, with new accounts up 70 percent year-over-year on the back of strong Roku-enabled device and TV sales.
"In the short term, as people stay at home more and they're more economically conscious, streaming has become more relevant to people's lives," Louden said.
With the coronavirus broadly accelerating the move over to streaming, Roku believes marketers will follow, albeit for the time being at a slower rate than the company was expecting. In addition, it thinks some advertising dollars freed up from the cancellation of live sports — including March Madness and the NHL, the expected cancellation of the NBA Season, and the postponement of the 2020 Olympics — will flow towards platforms like Roku, which do have continued programming.
"These are short-term trends, but they are emblematic of a shift that was already going away from linear TV and from people cutting their cable cords," he said.