Roku added another nearly 4 million active accounts in the fourth quarter to close out 2021 with 60.1 million total.
The new total represents a net increase of 8.9 million active accounts compared to the fourth quarter of 2020. With more users comes more usage and Roku recorded 73.2 billion total streaming hours in 2021, an increase of 14.4 billion year over year.
Roku said active account growth rates slowed some in the second half of 2021 and pinned the slowdown in the fourth quarter on global supply chain disruptions that have impacted the U.S. TV market.
“Similar to Q3, overall U.S. TV unit sales in Q4 fell below pre-COVID 2019 levels. Some of our Roku TV OEM partners were hit particularly hard with inventory challenges, which negatively impacted their unit sales figures and market share in Q4,” the company wrote in a letter to shareholders.
The reduced Roku TV model sales were partially offset by player unit sales, which the company said remained above pre-COVID 2019 levels.
“This was a result of careful management of our streaming player supply chain and inventory. Our strong and growing ARPU allowed us to prioritize account acquisition and insulate consumers from rising material and shipping costs in our player business. This resulted in player gross margin turning negative in Q3 and Q4 and also for the full year. While we expect market conditions to result in player-related costs remaining elevated for the near term, we do not believe these conditions will be permanent.”
Another standout metric within Roku’s quarterly earnings is platform revenue, which surpassed $700 million, up 49% year over year, while Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) grew to $41.03, up 43% year over year. The company reported $2.285 billion (up 80%) in platform revenue for all of 2021 thanks largely to its growing advertising business.
Roku claimed its monetized video ad impressions grew 67% year over year during the fourth quarter and nearly doubled year over year in 2021, led by increases in client acquisition, retention and spending per client. In 2021, the company’s total number of advertisers grew by more than 20% (excluding political advertisers) and it retained more than 95% of advertisers who spent $1 million or more compared to 2020.
Overall, Roku’s net revenue rose 33% to $865 million during the fourth quarter but adjusted EBITDA fell 24% year over year under the weight higher total operating expenses, which shot up nearly 50% year over year.