Roku To Lay Off Another 10% Of Staff, Reduce Content To Control Costs

Roku is laying off another 10% of its staff and planning to perform a “strategic review of its content portfolio,” consolidate office space, and reduce outside services expenses, the company reported in a filing on Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A “continuing evaluation of its operations” led to the company’s decision to implement “additional measures to continue to bring down its year-over-year operating expense growth rate,” Roku said in the filing.

In its Q2 earnings call in July, Roku, which has been impacted by the general downturn in ad spending, reported flat advertising revenue and a longer-than-expected upfront ad sales process. The company reported adding 1.9 million accounts, for a total of more than 73.5 million using its players and TVs.

The coming layoffs will affect about 300 employees. The company also laid off 200 employees in November 2022 and another 200 in March of this year.

Roku said it will seek to slow its year-over-year headcount expense growth rate by limiting new hires, as well as trimming its workforce, and expects to incur most of about $45 million to $65 million in severance and benefits and other restructuring costs in the third quarter.

Anticipated Q3 2023 impairment charges include an estimated $55 million to $65 million in costs to remove “select existing licensed and produced content from company-operated services on its TV streaming platform," The Roku Channel — plus about $160 million to $200 million from the office consolidation.

Other streaming players have also been cutting back on licensed content in their struggle to turn a profit. 

However, in the Q2 report, the company said it expects lower promotional spending on media and entertainment due to the writers’ and actors’ strikes.

Excluding the expected impairment and restructuring charges, Roku said it expects Q3 net revenue of between $835 million and $875 million, and adjusted EBITDA of minus $40 million to minus $20 million, both slightly better than previous guidance.

Roku has been testing, and is now starting to rollout, a new home screen with folders and “continue watching” features, according to Cord Cutters News.

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