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Roku turns to layoffs (again) and removes streaming content to cut costs

Roku turns to layoffs (again) and removes streaming content to cut costs


Roku’s all-important ads business is in a slow phase. In an SEC filing, the company revealed plans to cut over 300 employees, stop using some office facilities, and remove certain content from The Roku Channel.

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A photo of a Roku remote in a person’s hand.
Photo by Chris Welch / The Verge

Roku will be laying off 10 percent of its employees — more than 300 people — in its third round of workforce cuts in under a year. As reported by Variety, Roku revealed the move in an 8-K SEC filing early on Wednesday and says it made the decision in an effort to reduce operating expenses.

“The company determined to implement additional measures to continue to bring down its year-over-year operating expense growth rate,” the filing reads. Roku said these measures will include consolidating office space, cutting back on outside expenses, and limiting new hires — the typical steps companies take in these moments.

Roku has had three rounds of layoffs in under a year

Roku expects the “workforce reduction” to be largely complete by the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023. This follows two other rounds of layoffs that each affected 200 employees — one last November and the other in March.

But layoffs aren’t the only way the company is cutting costs. Roku plans to cease using some of its office spaces, and in keeping with other streaming platforms, it has decided to eliminate certain licensed content that was previously available on the company’s Roku Channel service. The Verge has reached out for more specifics on what’s been removed.

Most people know Roku as a brand synonymous with streaming players, but the company makes most of its revenue through advertising — not hardware sales. And partly thanks to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes, entertainment-related ad buys aren’t flowing in like they ordinarily would be. Combine that with an effort to curtail its operating expenses, and that’s seemingly how Roku arrived at its decision to cut back on its workforce yet again.

With its new plans factored in, Roku “now expects total net revenue in the range of $835 million to $875 million, and adjusted EBITDA in the range of negative $40 million to negative $20 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2023,” the company said in its filing.

(Disclosure: The Verge’s editorial staff is also unionized with the Writers Guild of America, East.)