Roku CEO Anthony Wood is mum about a possible corporate merger involving streaming video partners Roku and Netflix.
The Roku executive was Netflix’s short-lived head of internet TV in the early 2000s as the by-mail DVD movie rental service was readying to launch the subscription streaming video (SVOD) industry.
For the first time, TV streaming devices surpassed legacy pay-TV devices (set-top devices and DVR) in weekly reach in the United States, with 65% of adults aged 18-49 streaming TV compared to 63% watching legacy pay-TV, according to Nielsen.
Roku – through its pioneering ad-supported The Roku Channel is now a major player in the AVOD and free ad-supported streaming TV market with more than 60 million active accounts. The Roku Channel was a top five channel on the Roku platform in the U.S. by reach and engagement through the most-recent fiscal quarter.
In Q1, the top 10 broadcast TV advertisers increased spend on Roku nearly 80% year-over-year, while spending 7% less on legacy pay-TV, according to Roku.
The Roku executive contends the biggest impediment to growth for Roku — and all streamers — is that marketers’ mindsets are still used to spending dollars through legacy pay-TV.
When asked how Netflix’s pending foray into ad-supported VOD could impact Roku, Wood deflected, saying that the evolution of TV has been driven by advertising.