Roku jump buoyed by 40 percent gain in active users

Kamaron Leach

Roku Inc. shares had their best day in 14 months after saying the number of active accounts in the fourth quarter rose 40 percent over last year, giving media investors confidence that viewers are doubling down on streaming platforms.

Viewers are doubling down on streaming as their preferred method for consuming television entertainment and Roku touted the preliminary numbers ahead of a busy week at the 2019 CES Conference in Las Vegas. Its platform users streamed more than 7.3 billion hours of content in the last quarter, a 68 percent surge over the year-ago quarter. Annual streaming hours rose more than 60 percent compared with 2017, to 24 billion hours. The viewership boost sent the shares up as much as 27 percent, the biggest gain since Nov. 13, 2017.

While Roku remains a volatile stock, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Sean Handrahan said the account growth "is a big positive surprise and I really think they’re starting to get leverage on smaller content players."

Roku also announced a deal Monday with Westinghouse Electronics to offer its platform right out of the box and add new TV models offering its service within the first half of the year, a move aimed atextending Roku’s reign as one of television streaming’s leaders. "Account scale is key to attracting content providers and advertisers, aiding long-term growth prospects," Handrahan wrote.

Chief Executive Officer Anthony Wood is also scheduled to participate in a fireside chat Wednesday at the Citi Global TMT West Conference.