Roku released the results of its first quarter 2019 financials this week, indicating that its Roku TV smart TV OS had taken the top market share position among operating systems in TVs sold in the United States.

The Roku TV platform is carried by a number of TV brands and model series in the U.S. including TCL, Hisense, Insignia, Hitachi, Sharp and others. In contrast, Samsung, which has long held the lead TV OS share position for the U.S., places its Tizen smart TV system only in Samsung-branded sets. Samsung holds the leading market share position for smart TVs around the world. Roku makes its Roku TV OS available only to manufacturer partners planning to market sets in North America.

According to information released in Roku’s Q1 2019 financial report, the company registered 51% year-over-year growth in revenue ($207 million) for the period, and the Roku TV OS is now in the lead spot of the U.S. smart TV market.

Roku said that means more than one-in-three smart TVs sold in the U.S. in the quarter were Roku TVs. At the same time, sales of its Roku streaming media players were up 21% year-over-year.

Roku’s rapid growth has been driven in large part by a continued shift by consumers to streaming video, away from linear TV platforms.

Roku TVs continue to sell well because the OS is distributed and sold primarily through high-value, aggressively priced televisions carried at high-volume stores like Best Buy, Costco, BJ’s, Walmart and others. Samsung does a lot of its business in higher performing and generally more expensive sets.

Users have found the Roku TV platform to be very attractive for its simplicity of layout and use, affordable pricing and extensive library of supported streaming apps.

The company said it also registered strong growth in the period for The Roku Channel, which now offers access to more than 10,000 free ad-supported movies and TV episodes and more than two dozen live streaming channels. In Q1, The Roku Channel added Premium Subscriptions and now offers more than 30 premium content services, including HBO, Showtime, EPIX, and STARZ.

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As for the future, the company pointed out that “lost in the headlines is that all the new direct-to-consumer services, whether SVOD or AVOD, need streaming platforms like Roku to actually reach their desired TV audiences. As the TV streaming market evolves, we see subscription-based and ad-supported business models co-existing and attracting substantial consumer audiences, with revenue participation for Roku in both models. We believe the expanding roster of direct-to-consumer services makes the Roku platform even more appealing to consumers seeking increased content choice and control.

“Roku provides content creators access to a vast and highly engaged audience, as well as sophisticated audience development tools to help content creators attract and retain viewers. Using machine learning, we help content partners target new audiences that are more likely to subscribe to their services,” Roku’s statement said.

By Greg Tarr

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