The average time a Roku user spends on their device per day keeps increasing, with the first quarter in 2020 marking about a 20-minute increase over the same time last year. According to The Motley Fool, though, that growth is even more impressive when you take it in context. The 3.64 hours per day actually jumped from 2.58 in 2017, even though Roku stopped counted "passive viewing" in the meantime. That means a year ago, you could just leave the TV on and all that time would count. Now, Roku eventually asks if you're still watching, and will leave the program and stop counting if you don't reply.
Q2 is likely to look even bigger for Roku and other streaming providers, since the first quarter ended at the end of March, just two or so weeks into the social distancing programs enacted nationwide to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic is likely to be felt in unpredictable ways throughout the economy in the coming months, but streaming video seems to be poised for a boom.
Roku is an interesting platform because they make hardware and apps that, by and large, allow users to purchase directly from other vendors who pay a "toll" to Roku rather than consumers buying directly from it. That means that the dollar figures can be up and down, depending on sales of the latest hardware. It seems, though, that with Roku becoming more of a fixture for its almost 40 million active users, the streaming side is going to keep expanding for a while. The streaming devices also have built-in ads on its main menu and several other menus that help to generate revenue for Roku.
Roku, as a distributor that makes agreements with various apps and networks, also stands to benefit from the planned expansion of the streaming market to include things like Peacock and HBO Max. While other streamers might struggle to keep their numbers flat as more competition enters the marketplace, Roku will benefit by working with -- and taking advertising dollars from -- both sides of the streaming wars.