Roku shares are soaring on earnings beat and strong streaming growth

  • Roku reported fourth quarter 2018 earnings that beat analyst estimates and provided guidance in line or above expectations for 2019.
  • The company reported active account growth of more than 40 percent year-over year, reaching 27.1 million users, and a 69 percent year-over-year jump in streaming hours, now up to 7.3 billion.
  • Roku plans to invest in advertising, the Roku Channel, Roku TV and international expansion in 2019.
The Roku IPO at the Nasdaq, September 28, 2017.
Source: Nasdaq
The Roku IPO at the Nasdaq, September 28, 2017.

Shares of Roku jumped 25 percent Friday after the company reported fourth quarter 2018 earnings Thursday afternoon that beat analyst estimates.

Roku reported earnings of $0.05 per share compared to $0.03 expected by analysts, according to Refinitiv. The company also surpassed revenue estimates of $262 million, per Refinitiv, reporting $276 million in revenue for the quarter.

Roku's strong quarter comes as even more streaming services are expected to light up over the next year. AT&T, Disney, Apple and NBCUniversal are all scheduled to launch new streaming services in 2019 or early 2020. As the maker of the most popular TV streaming platform on the market, Roku is poised to gain a boost as those services light up.

Cord cutters continue to flock to Roku, based on growth in Roku's active accounts and streaming hours. Roku reported active account growth of more than 40 percent year-over year, reaching 27.1 million users, and a 69 percent year-over-year jump in streaming hours, now up to 7.3 billion.

Roku anticipated revenue for the upcoming quarter and full year 2019 that was in line with analyst estimates. The company expects Q1 revenue to fall between $185 million to $190 million compared to $188 million expected, per Refinitiv. It guided between $1 billion and $1.025 billion for the year, compared to analyst estimates of $985 million, per Refinitiv.

Maintaining a positive rating on Roku and updating its price target from $59 to $63, KeyBanc Capital Markets predicted 2019 could still be even better than anticipated for the stock.

"This could ultimately prove conservative if monetization of Roku ad inventory continues to scale and/or active accounts continue to accelerate," KeyBanc analysts wrote of Roku's guidance in a note Thursday night.

In a note Friday morning, Davidson analysts reiterated a buy rating and raised its price target from $49 to $60. They were pleased with Roku's active account growth and increased streaming hours and felt Roku was justified in its spending plans for 2019. Roku announced several areas of investment for 2019 in its shareholder letter, including advertising, the Roku Channel, Roku TV and international expansion.

"We believe Roku's heavy investment spend is warranted due to the highly competitive and growing OTT market and large opportunity that the company has to gain market share through active account growth," Davidson wrote.

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