Roku CEO explains why the company is launching its own line of TVs

Roku is counting on its growing consumer base past 70 million customers as it launches its own line of TVs, CEO Anthony Wood told CNBC on Thursday.

The streaming company unveiled its new line of TVs, Roku Select and Roku Plus Series, on Wednesday during the Consumer Electronics Show.

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Roku has sold hardware items in the past, like sound amplification devices and streaming players, though they were often the losing parts of its business. Still, Wood is optimistic about the sale of the new TVs.

“We generate billions of dollars a year in revenue through advertising, distribution of streaming services and we have a great platform to do that, but the heart of this business is our platform’s market share. shape,” Wood said.

It will market 11 television models ranging from 24 to 75 inches, which will be available for purchase in the spring. Prices will be between $119 and $999.

Roku’s commitment to hardware comes after a tough year that saw its shares plummet 80%, forcing the company to cut costs in areas such as advertising and jobs.

The company tightened its fourth-quarter guidance in November, forecasting revenue of $800 million, down more than 7% year-over-year. A few weeks later, the company announced that it was cutting around 200 jobs, or 5% of its workforce. It has also limited its advertising spending in an effort to reduce its margins.

“If you look at our overall ad business, it’s obvious the industry is hurting right now,” Wood said, though he noted that streaming advertising is growing faster than traditional TV advertising.

But Wood remains hopeful, banking on the momentum of the streaming industry as a whole.

“Roku streaming hours accounted for 87 billion streaming hours last year,” Wood said. “It’s up 19% year over year. The world is moving to streaming. All TV will be streaming, that means all TV advertising will be streaming.”

Until now, Roku’s streaming technology has been usable on televisions made by manufacturers Hisense, TCL, Philips, JVC and others. By introducing its own television channel, it will compete with these same partners.

Shares of Roku rose more than 4% at the start of 2023, closing at $42.76 on Thursday.

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