Roku told investors last week, “given the uncertainties and volatility in the macro environment, we are withdrawing our full-year revenue growth rate estimate.” The Roku led to a price drop of almost a third of its closing price last week.
Roku management predicted this economic environment would negatively impact advertising spend, particularly in the scatter market (the inventory available for purchase outside of annual upfront commitments), which is “an important source of ad revenue for Roku.”
Earnings calls from Comcast and YouTube also reported impact from the macroeconomic environment. Comcast spoke to “some choppiness, but nothing really dramatic” whereas Google spoke to the pullback in spend in Q2 reflecting “uncertainty about a number of factors that are challenging to disaggregate”.
The point here is not that they all were impacted differently by the same environment. Rather, it is *why* they were impacted differently.
There is the obvious answer that their CTV business models are different (e.g., Comcast has line items for linear, broadband, media and theme parks). But a comparison of Roku’s results to Google’s and Comcast’s helps to highlight some common themes explaining why they were impacted differently. I found five:
Generally speaking, the CTV advertising marketplace is unbelievably complex (someone described to me recently as “four-dimensional chess”), and no one seems to know where it is all headed (Roku, especially). If there is a cohesive story to these five signals, it is Roku’s importance to the CTV advertising marketplace.
[Author's Note: If your time is limited, each section on a signal offers valuable insights on their own.]
Historically, upfront presentations are where TV executives preview their programming lineups for the coming year and convince advertisers and buyers to place big bets on which shows will be hits. Because of the sheer scale of their inventory and their pricing power, networks ...