5 Things You Didn't Know About Roku

Roku (NASDAQ: ROKU) is one of the biggest winners of the COVID-19 lockdowns. The media-streaming technology expert's stock has gained 12% in 2020 and 44% over the last 52 weeks, and Roku still looks like a great buy at today's prices.

The company's eponymous set-top boxes, streaming sticks, and software for smart TV sets have reached 40 million active users so far, so you have probably heard the name before. On the other hand, we're talking about a modest mid-cap stock with just $1.2 billion of trailing sales. How much do you really know about Roku? Some of the 5 details below might be news to you.

A young couple share popcorn and gape in amazement at their TV screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. The company name actually means something

Roku CEO, chairman, and founder Anthony Wood is a serial entrepreneur. He started five other companies before launching Roku in 2002, including digital video recorder veteran ReplayTV. Roku means "six" in Japanese and that's why Wood chose that name for his sixth start-up.

2. Roku is an all-American business

Despite the international company name, Roku does an overwhelming majority of its business right here in the U.S.A. The company has an international division and does seek growth opportunities abroad, but Roku has yet to report a quarter where more than 10% of its sales came from overseas. If and when Roku runs out of low-hanging fruit in the American market, you should expect the company to make a major push into international expansion.

3. Fewer streaming boxes, more TV sets

Roku's platform segment accounts for software licenses, content deals, and ad sales. The player division represents Roku's streaming media hardware sales. The player segment used to be Roku's main focus, producing 74% of the company's total sales in 2016. The tables have turned in a hurry. Less than four years later, platform revenues added up to 73% of Roku's total sales in the first quarter of 2020.

4. Accelerating sales

Roku is pushing the pedal to the metal. Top-line revenues are not only growing fast but accelerating over time, but the company is always quick to reinvest the incoming cash into more growth-promoting ideas. The bottom line is printed in red ink but the growth-focused spending pattern is paying dividends:

ROKU Revenue (TTM) Chart

ROKU Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts

5. Netflix is more than just another media partner

Anthony Wood used to work for Netflix. In his 10-month stint as Netflix's vice president of internet TV operations, Wood led the development of the first set-top box for the DVD rental shop's then-newborn streaming video service. Netflix spun out the "Netflix Player" team into Wood's Roku company, sowing the seeds of the fast-growing digital media specialist we see today.

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Anders Bylund owns shares of Roku. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Roku. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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