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Roku CFO Says Company Wants ‘All Content on the Platform,’ Gives Insight on Challenging Negotiation Process

Stephanie Sengwe

One of the biggest surprises that came with the launch of HBO Max and Peacock last year, was the fact that neither platform was able to strike a deal with Roku or Amazon ahead of their launch. There’s no arguing they would have done better had they been available to the 100+ million active users across the two platforms.

Though WarnerMedia has since negotiated deals to get HBO Max on both platforms, Peacock has only managed to get into agreement with Roku, thus far. Part of the hold up in negotiations was the fact that HBO Max and Peacock wanted to be able to attain user data that can then be used for targeted advertising and gives services the opportunity to charge advertisers higher rates.

During the Citi Global TMT West Virtual Conference, Roku CFO Steve Louden gave a bit of insight on negotiations from the distributors perspective. “One of the key advantages we have as the platform owner is we have a lot of good information on what’s happening on the platform. We have that first-party relationship with those 50 million-plus active accounts. And so that is very helpful in terms of not only understanding the content side, but then leveraging that information for the advertising piece as well in our OneView platform.” he stated.

“We want all content on the platform…Our goal is to have a win-win deal. Sometimes that can be challenging with different partners. They come in with different viewpoints on what are the terms that are most important to them…The streaming world is very different than the legacy cable world. And so the mind shift has to be around there’s a lot of value to be created, we can help you do that. But for us, it’s important because that’s how we gain revenues, that’s how we invest in the user interface, the operating system underlying and keep the platform running. And so it’s important for us, and it’s also very much we understand what market is. And sometimes it takes a while to get to a mutually agreeable spot.”

Just yesterday, the company announced that they reached 51.2 million active accounts — up by approximately 14 million accounts in 2020. This was up from the 46 million they reported in Q3 2020 earnings report.

The company also announced an estimated 17 billion streaming hours in the fourth quarter for a total of 58.7 billion hours in 2020, an increase of 55 percent year over year for the quarter and the full year.

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