Roku Warns Customers of “Worrisome Trend” in Relationships with YouTube; Google’s TV app and service may go dark in December – deadline


Roku says his standoff with Google over the distribution of its YouTube and YouTube TV apps has remained despite six months of efforts to resolve it.

YouTube’s main app distribution agreement is slated to expire on December 9. YouTube TV, the pay-TV service with more than 3 million customers, already reached the end of the channel last spring. Roku removed it from its chain of stores, meaning no new customers were able to sign up, but existing customers were still able to access their subscriptions. If the December deadline rolls around without a deal, new Roku smart TVs and connected devices won’t have YouTube, but existing ones will still contain the apps.

In a blog post posted today, Roku continued to stress that fighting isn’t about the money. The streaming company described a “disturbing trend that threatens the vibrant and competitive streaming ecosystem,” saying Google has manipulated search results on Roku’s platform to favor its own.

“As we work to resolve our differences, we want to be transparent about these negotiations,” the blog said. “As we shared in April, the threat remains that Google could remove YouTube TV from the Roku platform.”

In a response, YouTube claimed it had “continued to work” with Roku to reach a resolution. “Roku has once again chosen to make unproductive and baseless claims rather than trying to work constructively with us,” the company said.

The dispute erupted in public view last spring, though its origins can be traced back to 2019. Roku called Google an “out of control monopolist,” while the latter said it had engaged in “good faith” talks for try to come to an agreement.

As was the case in the spring, Roku reiterated his position in the blog post that the fight is not about the money, but rather the control of the data and the search function. “For Roku, it’s about maintaining our independence, protecting our customers and ensuring healthy competition in the streaming industry that benefits millions of consumers,” the blog said.

Roku cited its DNA as an independent company, smaller than tech giants like Google, as an issue in the dispute. The company doesn’t have a full-time lobbyist in Washington on its payroll, but it places the YouTube issue in the context of the larger conversation about the dominance of technology in the modern marketplace. Even before President Joe Biden was sworn in last January, there was momentum towards a regulatory crackdown on companies like Google.

“Rather than taking a mutually beneficial partnership approach, some large tech companies are using their market power to expand control over independent companies, like Roku, to the benefit of their broader business objectives at the expense of the consumer, by creating a fair and open competitive streaming market. at risk, ”Roku’s post said.

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