Roku to Lay Off 200 U.S. Employees Due to Current Economic Conditions11/17/2022
Roku on Thursday revealed it would cut 200 U.S. jobs, or 5 percent of its payroll expenses, “to slow down the Company’s 2023 operating expense growth rate due to current economic conditions,” according to an SEC filing. The actual headcount reduction is 7 percent, a person with knowledge of the layoffs told IndieWire.
In the public filing, Roku estimated the layoffs will cost the company $28 million to $31 million in severance, benefits, and related costs. Those charges will mostly be recognized in the fourth quarter, and will be “substantially complete” by the end of Q1 2023.
“Due to the current economic conditions in our industry, we have made the difficult decision to reduce Roku’s headcount expenses by a projected 5%, to slow down our OpEx growth rate,” Roku said in a statement that didn’t differ much from the filing. “This will affect approximately 200 employee positions in the U.S. Taking these actions now will allow us to focus our investments on key strategic priorities to drive future growth and enhance our leadership position.”
Roku, which has been making a serious push into original programming with The Roku Channel, had at least one big win recently. While the company would not reveal a specific viewership number, Roku touted its new original movie “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story” as having “the biggest opening weekend audience in the history of The Roku Channel.”
“Millions of streamers” watched “Weird” that weekend, the company said. That’s as granular as it got, numerically. The biopic parody attracted “more new/lapsed viewers” to The Roku Channel than any other on-demand content launch ever before. And the film’s launch date itself, November 4, drew more active accounts to The Roku Channel globally than any other day in the channel’s history.
“The response from our streamers to ‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’ has been nothing short of phenomenal. The intense audience passion for this project radiated throughout every step of our launch campaign,” David Eilenberg, vice president and head of Roku Originals, said at the time. “We’re not only proud of its global record-breaking performance but are so thrilled to see that it drove more first-time, new audiences to The Roku Channel than any past content launch. The strong reaction speaks volumes to the brilliant storytelling by Eric Appel and Al Yankovic and the standout performances from our fantastic cast.”
Yankovic himself had some fun — and took some liberties — with the accomplishment and data:
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