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Roku Trims Losses and Raises Guidance, But Market Isn’t Convinced

photo of back view of couple watching television

Streaming TV platform operator Roku Inc. (NASDAQ: ROKU) can't catch a break with the markets. Despite a solid Q1 2024 earnings report that saw thinning losses and 19% YoY revenue acceleration topped by raised guidance, the market turned an initial price gap into a 10% loss the following day. As a consumer discretionary sector company, Roku is still the leader in streaming devices, capturing over 81.6 million households and reaching 120 million users daily, up 1.6 million households QoQ. However, competition is constantly nipping at its heels. Investors may see a potential buying opportunity on further pullbacks.

Barbarians Surround the Moat

Roku faces heavy competition on all fronts, including Amazon Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) Firestick, Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) Google Chromecast, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) Apple TV and Nvidia Co. (NASDAQ: NVDA) Shield TV Pro on the streaming device front. It faces Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) as a competitor for Smart TVs and SmartCast operating system (OS) with its acquisition of VIZIO Holding Co. (NYSE: VZIO).

It's free Roku streaming channel faces competition from other free ad-supported TV streams including Fox Co. (NASDAQ: FOXA) Tubi, Paramount Global (NASDAQ: PARA) Pluto and ad-supported tiers from Comcast Co. (NASDAQ: CMCSK) Peacock Network, The Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) Disney+, Warner Bros. Discovery (NASDAQ: WBD) Max and Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX).

Otherwise, a Fantastic Quarter

Roku reported a Q1 2024 loss of 35 cents, beating consensus estimates for a loss of 61 cents by 35 cents. Revenues jumped 19% YoY to $881.5 million, crushing analyst estimates for $843.54 million. Gross profit grew 18% YoY to $394.4 million, and gross margins fell 150 bps to 44.1%. Operating losses withdrew to $72 million, down from $212.5 million in the year-ago period. This was attributed to the 16% drop in operating expenses and accelerating revenues.

Improving Operating Metrics

Streaming hours rose 23% or 5.7 billion hours YoY to $30.8 billion. Streaming households rose 14% YoY to 81.6 million. The average revenue per user (ARPU) rose 1.8% QoQ to $40.65, which was flat YoY but a recovery back over the $40 threshold, which it violated in its Q4 2023 earnings report, causing the 24% price collapse in February. This quarter marks the third consecutive quarter of positive adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow (FCF), underscoring its focus on growing its operating efficiencies.

Raised Guidance

Roku raised its Q2 2024 revenue guidance to $935 million versus $926.45 million consensus estimates. It expects to generate $410 million in gross profit and to continue shrinking its net loss of $65 million.

ROKU Stock Daily Descending Triangle

Daily Descending Triangle  

ROKU's daily candlestick chart illustrates a descending triangle pattern that appeared to break out heading into the Q1 2024 earnings release. The descending trendline formed at the $78.61 gap and swung high level from its prior earnings release on February 16, 2024. The horizontal flat-bottom lower trendline formed at $56.35. ROKU reversed its breakout momentum on the Q1 2024 release as sellers panicked, sending it back to test the flat-bottom lower trendline support. The daily relative strength index (RSI) abruptly reversed back down through the 40-band. Pullback support levels are at $55.02, $51.75, $48.84 and $44.50.

CEO Insights

ROKU shares initially spiked after hours to $69.90 on its earnings release. Shares started to give back their gains heading into the conference call. Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood underscored the strong quarter and 19% growth in platform revenue. The company is focused on accelerating platform growth and innovation to drive adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow growth in 2025. The 3 key opportunities lie in maximizing the Roku home screen as a lead-in for TV, growing ad demand and growing Roku bill subscriptions. Roku's home screen reaches 120 million people daily.

Its payment and billing service, Roku Pay, enables users to sign up for new programs with a few clicks of the remote, which ensures content partners don't lose subscribers from unnecessary friction at the point of purchase. It helps to grow programmatic ad campaigns. Wood noted that programmatic ad spending as a percentage of total video ad spend continues to grow. The company has recently switched its programmatic ad strategy to focus on third-party platforms, including DSDs, to offer more options for their advertisers.

U.S. APRU Rises but Flat Overall Due to International Growth

CFO Dan Jedda pointed out that while total ARPU was flat YoY, that's because of the faster growth internationally compared to the United States. The U.S., in isolation, shows an improvement in ARPU on a trailing 12-month basis. The international ARPU is lower, but continues to grow market share. Roku has a 40% market share of TVs sold in Mexico. This means 40% of the TVs sold in Mexico and Roku TVs, which helps accelerate its monetization.

Roku analyst forecasts and price targets are at MarketBeat.

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