Roku shares surge as Q1 results, outlook crush consensus, continued sub strength expected

Roku said it will continue to add subs at levels higher than before the COVID-19-induced pandemic.

Streaming video pioneer Roku this afternoon reported Q1 revenue and profit that was well ahead of consensus, and an outlook for this quarter higher as well. 

The report sent Roku shares higher by 6% in late trading

In a letter to shareholders, CEO and founder Anthony Wood and CFO Steve Louden called the results "exceptional."

The company expects to continue to have higher user metrics than before the pandemic, it said.

"For the remainder of the year, we expect the year-over-year growth rates of both metrics to be lower than those in 2020," wrote Wood and Louden. 

"However, we expect net adds of both active accounts and streaming hours to be above pre-COVID-19 levels. 

"Furthermore, we anticipate continued strong engagement as we expect streaming hours per account to be higher in 2021 than in 2020.

Roku's active accounts rose by 35%, year over year, to 53.6 million active accounts, and hours of video streamed by users rose 49% to 18.3 billion hours. 

Revenue in the three months ended in March rose 79%, year over year, to $574 million, yielding a net profit of 54 cents a share.

Analysts had been modeling $492 million and 4 cents per share.

Roku's revenue from its platform doubled, year over year, to $466.5 million, while revenue from its hardware player and accessories was up 22% at $107.7 million. 

The company's gross profit margin hit a new record, 57% and Ebitda rose to $125 million, on an adjusted basis.

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $610 million to $620 million. That compares to consensus for $550 million.

During a call with reporters following the report, Louden clarified the remarks about growth rates this year. The company expects net subscriber adds and streaming hours to be higher than before the pandemic in absolute numbers not in growth rates.

"To clarify, what we said is that the year-over-year comps will be volatile this year, but in terms of active accounts and streaming hours overall, from a net adds perspective, the number, rather than the year-over-year growth, we expect to continue to grow robustly albeit roughly in line with pre-COVID levels."

On the call, Louden was asked about global component shortages. Louden said component shortages globally is something the company has been dealing with for over a year. "In terms of the current situation, the problems are persisting longer than people hoped," said Louden. "That's leading to price increases of component parts, and the logistical issues facing the world are maybe getting worse."

Those issues "coudl lead to our player margins going slightly negative in Q2," Louden said, "and maybe more negative in the back half."