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Roku Exec Says New Services Take Away From Traditional TV, Not Other Streamers

Stephanie Sengwe

With new services launching in the market, the streaming wars have caused quite the stir. Most people have wondered what will become of established services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and even Hulu once new comers such as Disney+, Apple TV+, the upcoming Peacock and HBO Max, have gotten their footing.

However, according to Scott Rosenberg, Roku’s senior VP & GM of platform business, the streaming wars aren’t necessarily about one over the other, as much as they are about coexisting. During the company’s Q4 2019 earnings call yesterday, Rosenberg said, “So generally, these new services are additive. They create yet more reasons for consumers to cut or shape the cord and spend more time streaming. And we’ve seen that for years now across lots of new service launches. I would say that’s the case here as well. It’s stealing time from linear from traditional TV viewing rather than from streaming. And yes, it is still true that AVOD is growing faster than other segments. Seventy percent of users watch AVOD on the platform.”

Rosenberg’s sentiments echo those stated by Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer. During last year’s SeriesFest, which took place in June, Sarandos told Liberty Global CEO Mark Fries that he thought the new services will be complimentary to Netflix.

“The thing that’s most interesting about these upcoming services and the services that are in the market today is that mostly they have none of the same programming,” he told Fries. “Nothing that’s on Disney+ is going to be on Netflix and nothing that’s on Netflix is going to be on Comcast or the Warner Media Services coming up. They’re all very unique so what people are looking to us for, they’ll look to us and if they’re looking for something different they might add on.”

As part of their Q4 2019 earnings report, Roku announced they now have 36.9 million active accounts. This is up from the 32.3 million active accounts they reported in the third quarter.

Much of Roku’s user growth is coming from licensing the Roku platform to smart TV manufacturers. The company previously reported that nearly 1 in 3 smart TVs sold in the first half of 2019 use the Roku platform. The company continues to focus on growing their platform business as they also announced they hit $1.13 billion in revenue in 2019 in yesterday’s report.

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