Roku CFO says new enterprise engineering team invests in IT across the board to scale the business

CFO Steve Louden tells ZDNet the streaming video platform company is investing in systems at many levels to support increasing scale.
Written by Tiernan Ray, Senior Contributing Writer

Coming off of a record quarter for revenue and subscribers, Roku's chief financial officer, Steve Louden, told ZDNet in a phone interview that the company is investing in IT systems across the board to support increasing scale. 

It begins with having set up a new task group, said Louden. "We kind-of enhanced our approach to the IT infrastructure, we created a group called enterprise engineering," he said.

That group is "basically responsible for a lot of the back-end systems," said Louden. "When you're growing as fast as Roku, and you're expending internationally as well, the complexity is increasing, as well as the scale," he said.

Roku Thursday evening reported Q3 revenue that soared by 73%, year over year, to $452 million, handily beating Wall Street's expectation for $367 million. 

Perhaps more striking is the growth of the user base, up 43% in the quarter, at 46 million active accounts. Those users streamed a total of 14.8 billion hours of content in the quarter, an increase of over 50% from the prior-year period. 

Roku's business is built in three phases in each new market it enters internationally. It starts with scale, to get the service into people's hands. Only then does the company seek to increase engagement by astutely programming content. And finally, monetization comes when the company can more adroitly program ads and direct subscription offerings to those users. 

That requires constant ability to roll out new features to those 46 million subscribers, such as enhancements to programming guides. It also requires new go-to-market efforts in new geographies. 

"We're investing in a range of different systems, from sales-related systems to our back office backbone," added Louden. "So there are a number of investments that are ongoing within that, and that's critical for us as we continue to scale up."

Roku is projecting revenue to rise another 45% or so this quarter, again higher than Wall Street's estimate. 

"It was a great quarter for us, so, I'm very happy with how the business has been doing despite all the uncertainty out in the world," said Louden. 

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