Roku to Cut 200 Jobs, Citing Challenged Economy

Roku to Cut 200 Jobs, Citing Challenged Economy

Roku is the latest technology and media player to slash jobs, revealing in a securities filing Thursday that it plans to reduce its workforce by about 5 percent, or about 200 jobs.

The company said the plan, which was approved Thursday, was meant to “slow down the company’s 2023 operating expense growth rate due to current economic conditions.”

Roku plans to take severance charges of between $28 million and $31 million on the layoffs, which will mostly take place this quarter and will largely be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2023.

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Roku is just the latest company with a significant advertising business to cut back amid what most executives agree is becoming a challenging macroeconomic environment. Advertising is being hit particularly hard, with Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav saying earlier this week that the ad market is worse now than it was during COVID.

While Roku is best known for its streaming sticks and boxes, the company has leaned more into its ad-supported platform business in recent years. It recently hired former Fox entertainment president Charlie Collier to oversee its content and advertising businesses.

In the tech sector, a number of other companies have recently made similar moves. Snap laid off more than 1,200 people, representing about 20 percent of its staff; Twitter, under new owner Elon Musk, laid off thousands of its employees, though an exact number remains unclear; and Facebook and Instagram owner Meta is reducing its workforce by 13 percent, representing some 11,000 jobs. In the media and entertainment sector, Warner Bros. Discovery says it expects to take restructuring costs of between $800 million and $1.1 billion, representing thousands of employees; while Disney CEO Bob Chapek warned employees last week that the company will begin to manage costs, including the likelihood of layoffs.

It all makes for a difficult environment, with advertising hit particularly hard.