Device shaking up streaming wars

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ONLINE streaming television pioneer Roku has filed paperwork to raise as much as $125 million with an offering of stock

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Roku looking to take on the might of Google and Apple

ONLINE streaming television pioneer Roku has filed paperwork to raise as much as $125 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 favour of streaming shows online, on demand.

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

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. While Roku still doesn’t sell directly to the Australian market officially, there are a number of online resellers of the device including Australian eBay vendors, and the Roku app is available more broadly.

Content offerings on the Roku platform include subscriptions as well as shows supported by ads. Unlike other streaming platforms, Roku customers have shown they’re happy to endure ads if the content is free, giving the company the chance to grow its ad based revenue.

And Roku will need the point of difference if it’s going to continue to punch above its weight against its heavy hitting rivals in the video streaming market including Amazon, Apple and Google which all offer devices and services.

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Roku devices have come to Australia Source: Supplied

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 $125 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 $US199.7 million in the first half of this year, an increase of 23 per cent from the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, the company’s net loss shrank to $US24.2 million in the six months ended on June 30 from $US33.2 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, TVs will be powered by a purpose-built operating system optimised for streaming.”

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