Shares of Walt Disney (DIS 1.15%) have been picking up steam of late. The company recently posted a strong earnings report. Its subscriber numbers now total 221.1 million across all of its services, which is slightly higher than Netflix's (NFLX 0.33%) tally of 220.7 million. Competition is likely only going to heat up between the two streaming companies.
But rather than getting caught up in that and picking between Disney or Netflix, there's an even better option out there for investors: Roku(ROKU 3.69%).
Roku has the advantage of being agnostic
Competition between Netflix and Disney is likely going to intensify as the two companies battle it out for market share and subscribers. As inflation chips away at purchasing power, consumers may have to choose between the subscriptions they keep, and that can make it difficult for Netflix and Disney to build on their subscriber numbers.
Roku, however, isn't in direct competition with either company as it offers free content on its own channel, and it provides consumers with a platform to watch either Disney, Netflix, or any other service. The company's software is easy enough for kids to use, and its streaming sticks can turn a regular TV into a smart TV that can install a variety of apps on it.
The ease of use of the devices and the ability for Roku to house apps from any and all streaming services make it an attractive entertainment hub for consumers, regardless of which subscriptions they keep.
The company is growing, and its prospects look strong
In Roku's second quarter (ended June 30), the revenue growth rate nose-dived to less than 19%. It's a sharp decline from how the company has been growing in recent years.
Investors are undoubtedly down on the development, but it could prove to be a temporary dip in what remains a strong growth story. In its letter to shareholders, Roku's management says that "marketers abruptly curtailed or paused advertising spending in the ad scatter market during the latter half of Q2." The scatter market relates to ads that aren't purchased ahead of time.
This is not new information, however, as investors have been hearing from many tech companies that businesses are slowing ad spending in an effort to keep their costs down. Roku is likely to bounce back, as are other companies affected by these developments.
Meanwhile, Roku is finding ways to add more value for advertisers by allowing shoppable ads, where consumers can purchase items while on its platform. Roku announced a partnership with Walmart in June that would allow consumers to easily buy products from the big-box chain with just the click of a button while programming is paused.
Roku's ability to innovate and add value for advertisers makes it likely that its sales numbers will recover as conditions in the economy improve.
It's a cheap, beaten-down stock to buy
Year to date, shares of Roku are down more than 60% (the S&P 500 has fallen just 10%). At a price-to-sales multiple of less than 4, the stock is trading at the lowest premium it has been at in years.
Although Roku isn't profitable -- it reported a loss of $112 million in Q2 -- the business generated a decent gross profit margin of 47% last quarter, and that's with the effects of inflation (its gross profit has been up over 50% in the past). It has also burned through less than $10 million in operating cash flow over the past six months, which the company can easily absorb with more than $2 billion in cash on its books.
Roku is a good buy for the long term
While Disney's stock is soaring, investors are still overlooking the potential for Roku, and that could be a mistake. The business isn't in as bad of a position as investors may be assuming. Consumers don't need a whole new Roku-enabled TV in order to access the streaming platform. They can simply buy a Roku stick which -- for $50 or less -- allows cash-strapped shoppers to watch a variety of content on their existing TV set.
Even in an inflationary environment, the company's devices could be in strong demand. The number of active accounts Roku reported in Q2 was 63.1 million -- an increase of 14% year over year. While Roku's business may have slowed down, the growth opportunities are still there, and that's why it's a top stock to load up on today.
Roku's stock has taken a beating, but by no means is the business broken. And that's why buying it now could be an excellent move for growth investors.