TV streaming pioneer Roku files for stock market debut

SAN FRANCISCO: Online streaming television pioneer Roku has filed paperwork to raise as much as $100 million with an offering of stock on the Nasdaq exchange.

Roku was early to the trend of viewers “cutting the cord” and shunning traditional cable television in favor of streaming shows online as desired.

The first generation Roku streamed Netflix, but its “set-top boxes” have evolved to offer content from an array of providers including Hulu and HBO Now.

Roku said its branded devices for tapping into the company’s video streaming platform are sold in Britain, Canada, France, Ireland, Mexico, and the US.

The Roku app is available more broadly.

Some television makers have built Roku software directly into display screens. Content offerings include subscriptions and shows supported by ads.

The streaming video market is hot, with high-powered competitors including Amazon, Apple and Google offering devices and services.

Roku and Netflix both have their main offices in the Silicon Valley city of Los Gatos.

Roku said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that it intended to be traded on Nasdaq under the symbol ROKU.

The share price was not set in the paperwork, which indicated the company intended to raise a maximum of $100 million.

There were 15.1 million active Roku accounts at the end of June this year, and users of the service streamed more than 6.7 billion hours of video in the first six months of the year, the company said in the filing.

Roku laid claim to being the top television streaming platform in the US as measured by total hours streamed.

Roku reported revenue of $199.7 million in the first half of this year, an increase of 23 percent from the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, the company’s net loss shrank to $24.2 million in the six months ended on June 30 from $33.2 million during the same period last year.

“Our mission is to be the TV streaming platform that connects the entire TV ecosystem,” Roku founder and chief executive Anthony Wood said in a letter included in the filing.

“I believe that just like mainframe operating systems didn’t transition to PCs, and just like PC operating systems didn’t make the transition to phones (is your phone powered by Windows?), TVs will be powered by a purpose-built operating system optimized for streaming.”

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