Roku Inc. (NASDAQ: ROKU) has announced that it will let manufacturers license reference designs for its TVs and use Roku OS to create smart TVs for sale in Europe. It expects to launch its first TVs in the U.K. toward the end of the year. Roku’s founder and chief executive Anthony Wood said in an interview that other European markets will follow.
Roku has announced that Chinese manufacturer Hisense Home Appliances Group Co. would be its first European Roku TV partner. The new Hisense Roku TV models will come in sizes ranging up to 65 inches and will support 4K Ultra HD resolutions and HDR. The models will launch in the U.K. in the fourth quarter.
Streaming company Roku started out offering players for services like Netflix, first introducing the Roku TV platform at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2014. Now, in 2019, its software runs one in three smart TVs in the United States and there are over 100 models available from over 10 brands in North America. The company has grown to reach 30.5 million U.S. households; has struck licensing deals with nearly a dozen TV makers, and has served as an aggregator for more than 7,000 channels.
Roku reported that revenues grew by 59 percent in the second quarter, rising to $250 million. The company is forecasting revenues of just over $1 billion this year. Its shares have since risen more than tenfold since 2017. Wood said, “We’re the leader by a wide margin in the U.S., and we’re just starting to get serious about international markets.”
In Europe, Roku faces a platform contest with Amazon.com Inc. that echoes the David-and-Goliath battle in music streaming between Spotify and Apple. Amazon also announced an expansion of its smart TV offering in Europe this week. Amazon is working with manufacturers Grundig, JVC, and Toshiba to bring a total of 15 Fire TV devices to market over the next year. JVC-branded TVs will be sold in the U.K. and sets made by Grundig are slated for Germany and Austria.