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Roku files for a $100 million IPO

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The company is looking to grow its user and advertising base

Roku 4 WM

Roku Inc., the company that makes various streaming devices and smart TVs, is going public, according to papers filed with the Securities and Exchanges Commission yesterday. It is looking to raise $100 million, and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticket symbol “ROKU”.

In the SEC filing, the company reports that it had 15.1 million active accounts as of June 30th, 2017, and that those users have “streamed more than 6.7 billion hours on the Roku platform,” during the first half of 2017. Critically, Roku points out that 2.9 billion of those hours was programming supported by advertisers.

There’s a caveat, however: the company says that it has operated at losses in the past, and that it expects “to incur operating losses in the future and may never achieve or maintain profitability.” It’s language that’s similar to what other companies have made while filing for their own IPOs, such as Snap, which is also looking to the growth of advertising revenue as a road to profitability. Roku reports that as of June, it had an “accumulated deficit of $244 million,” and that its solution here is to attract new users to grow its advertising revenue.

That advertising money is growing in importance for Roku. The company says that in the first six months of 2017, revenue from selling players made up most of the company’s finances: 59 percent, down two percent from the last half of 2016. At the same time, advertising revenue grew by 91 percent to represent 41 percent of the company’s bottom line. By contrast, player revenue made up 74 percent of Roku’s finances in the same period last year, while ads made up the remaining 26 percent. Roku says that its goal moving forward is to grow its user base, which will translate into new advertiser gains.

The company is in a good place to attract those users, working not as a straight-up streaming service, but as a platform that CEO Anthony Wood says “connects the entire TV ecosystem.” The company is leading other industry giants such as Amazon, Google and Apple when it comes to active users in the connected television market, and in recent months, Roku has unveiled a range of cheaper products, such as a $30 streaming box, a television that runs just $250, to some more expensive, but still very good television offerings. Those cheaper prices might be enough to entice enough users to buy into its services, and help the company grow its desired advertising revenue.