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Roku Stock Jumps as New Accounts Growth Accelerates

By Daniel Sparks – Apr 13, 2020 at 7:11PM

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The trend of consumers sheltering at home gave Roku a nice boost toward the end of Q1.

Shares of Roku (ROKU 1.22%) soared during after-hours trading on Monday, rising nearly 11% at one point. The stock's big jump follows a business update from the streaming-TV platform in which Roku said it saw a big impact on new account growth and viewing toward the end of its first quarter as more people were sheltering at home to help curb the spread of COVID-19. In addition, management suspended its financial outlook for the full year amid economic uncertainty but also forecast its first-quarter revenue to be much higher than analysts were expecting.

Here's a look at the streaming-TV company's timely update and what it means for investors.

A Roku-powered TV in an apartment living room

Image source: Roku.

Better-than-expected first-quarter results

Roku said it estimates its first-quarter active accounts at 39.8 million, up 37% year over year. In addition, management said streaming hours for the period were likely about 13.2 billion, up 49% year over year. 

Management noted that it had previously warned investors that streaming growth would moderate during the quarter because it shipped a platform feature that exited users' video playback after a sustained period of inactivity. But the company nevertheless benefited from a jump in account growth and viewing toward the end of the quarter as people were sheltering at home, translating to an acceleration in new account growth.

Roku also said revenue for the period will likely be between $307 million and $317 million, representing a 51% year-over-year increase based on the midpoint of this guidance range. This is well ahead of both management's guidance and analysts' consensus forecast for the period. Management had guided for revenue between $300 million and $310 million and analysts were expecting revenue of $299.8 million. 

CEO Anthony Wood notably provided an update on the tech company's advertising business, which some investors may have been worried would be negatively impacted as some marketers reduce their spending. While he said he expected some marketers to "pause or reduce ad investments in the near term," he also said he believes Roku's "targeted and measurable TV ads and unique sponsorship capabilities" are "highly beneficial to brands today."

Uncertainty lies ahead

Despite the quarter's strong results and what seems to be a boost to the company's performance from more consumers staying at home, Roku still opted to withdraw its full-year 2020 financial outlook, citing "economic uncertainties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic."

"While we believe that our offerings to consumers, content providers and advertisers will enable our Company to deliver value in these uncertain times," explained Roku CFO Steve Louden in Roku's business update on Monday, "the wider business and consumer impacts, as well as the duration of the pandemic, are unclear and thus we are withdrawing our prior 2020 outlook."

Investors will get another glimpse into Roku's business when the company reports its official first-quarter results on May 7.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Roku. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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