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Vizio makes more money spying on people who buy TVs than it does on TVs


Vizio became a publicly traded company less than a year ago, and as a result, we now know more about the firm’s operations than we ever did previously.

On Tuesday, the television manufacturer presented its latest earnings report, revealing that its Platform Plus sector, which includes advertising and viewer data, had a gross profit of $57.3 million in the previous three months.

Despite bringing in far more money, it generated more than double the profit it made selling devices like TVs, which was $25.6 million.

The distinction between the two divisions was noted in Vizio’s initial public offering filing. While Devices is straightforward — 4K TVs, soundbars, and so on — Platform Plus is a little trickier.

It tracks and sells viewer data as part of the InScape program, as well as money gained through selling ad spaces on its TV homescreens, deals for remote buttons, advertising that run on streaming channels, and its share from subscriptions.

According to the company, shipments of its TVs plummeted 36% to 1.4 million in 2021 from 2.1 million in 2020. On the call, CEO William Wang said that he expects “quite robust inventory” heading into the holiday season, so anyone looking for a low-cost TV or soundbar should have a few alternatives.

Platform Plus revenue, which increased 136 percent year over year, went a long way toward helping Vizio make up for the fact that TV profits were down compared to previous year.

Vizio was struck hard by supply chain and logistical issues that plagued many other companies, but executives said the company is working with third-party partners to assist find warehousing and trucking staff.

The number of active SmartCast accounts, which has surpassed 14 million, as well as the average amount of money made from each user, continue to rise. From $10.44 to $19.89, the number has nearly doubled since last year.

Vizio executives stated on a conference call with investors and analysts that 77 percent of the money comes from advertising, such as the kind that runs on its WatchFree Plus package of streaming channels, which was recently expanded with content targeting.

The money it makes selling Inscape data about what people are watching is the next largest source.

While you may know Roku for its TV OS and streaming devices, CEO Anthony Wood is pretty forthright about the company’s fundamental model, as we pointed out a couple of years ago.

According to Roku’s most recent report, each user earns $40 a month on average, which is more than double what Vizio does. Vizio wants to catch up by developing its own in-app payment mechanism, which will be available to users next year, according to chief revenue officer Mike O’Donnell.



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