Number 3: What does Rupert Murdoch have to do with it?

By Kirsten Korosec
September 1, 2017

Roku, the maker of one of the most popular streaming video devices, filed for an initial public offering on Friday to raise $100 million.

The IPO filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission gives new insight into the streaming television set-top maker, including whether it’s actually profitable. (And no, it isn’t making money, yet.)

Here are four fast facts worth knowing about Roku and its much anticipated IPO:

1. Roku is trying to shift its revenues away from device sales.

Roku considered filing an IPO in 2014. The company, which at the time was in the process of diversifying its business beyond hardware and into software, decided to wait.

Since then, it appears that the company has managed to diversify. Roku makes the bulk of its money selling its Internet set-top box, but it wants to grow revenue generated from its platform through advertising and subscription dollars.

According to its IPO filing, that appears to be happening. The company says it generated $199.7 million in revenue in the first six months of the year, up 23% from $162.3 million in the same six-month period in 2016.

Last year, 74% of its revenue came from sales of its streaming device. That has shifted in the first six months of the year to 59% of its total revenue. Meanwhile, money generated from the Roku platform (advertising and subscriptions) represented 41% of its total revenue.

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2. Roku users are streaming a lot of video, and they don’t mind ads.

The company, which was founded in 2002, had 15.1 million active accounts as of June 30, 2017, according the IPO filing. That’s helping it to push ahead of other competitors in the space including Google’s Chromecast and Apple.

And its streaming devices aren’t gathering dust. Roku users streamed more than 6.7 billion hours on the company’s platform in the first six months of 2017, a 62% increase from the same period last year.

Some of those numbers have been reported before, but what’s interesting is the growth in “ad-supported” content—another way of saying that people are willing to watch shows with ads, if the content is free. This is a potential revenue driver for Roku.

Hours streamed on the Roku platform that included advertising grew to 2.9 billion hours in the first six months of 2017, up 76% year-over-year from the six months ended June 30, 2016. Searching for free content was the top reason users visited Roku’s website last year, other than to manage their Roku accounts, the company says in the IPO.

3. Rupert Murdoch could make a killing on the IPO.

Roku is backed by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox, Menlo Ventures, Globescan Capital Partners, and Fidelity.

It appears that Menlo Ventures is the company’s largest shareholder with a 35.3% stake. Fidelity has a 12.9% stake, followed by Twenty-First Century Fox at 7%, and Globespan Capital Partners at 6.1.%.

4. The company is not profitable—yet.

In fiscal 2016, Roku lost $42.8 million, and the same story appears to be playing out this year. The company reported a net loss of $24.2 million in the first six months of 2017.

Here’s one reason why: Roku is spending a lot on research and development. The company laid out $48.1 million on R&D in the first six months of 2017, a 25% increase over the same period last year.

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