Roku Is Warning Customers YouTube TV App Might Disappear

The streaming hardware manufacturer is escalating a disagreement over Google's policies.


Roku users may soon have issues finding YouTube TV on their devices. In an email sent to its YouTube TV users, Roku is now warning that the app may go dark. This is due to recent negotiations in which Google allegedly wants conspicuous placement for YouTube in all search results and to block results from other providers. News of the brewing standoff was first reported by Axios, which has also published the email alerting customers.

"Recent negotiations with Google to carry YouTube TV have broken down because Roku cannot accept Google's unfair terms as we believe they could harm our users," reads the email. "While we are deeply disappointed in Google's decision to use their monopoly power to try and force terms… we remain committed to reaching an agreement with Google that preserves your access."

Roku is also indicating that in these negotiations, according to Yahoo News, Google has allegedly "threatened to set chipset and memory requirements for devices that would raise hardware prices." Such a move would therefore, potentially, give Google's Chromecast device an unfair competitive advantage, which a Roku spokesperson argued would be "predatory."

Google, which has a long history of skirting antitrust issues, has not yet responded publicly. Neither Roku nor Google are strangers to these types of disputes. Last year, it took months and months for NBCUniversal and Roku to broker an agreement that would allow the Peacock streaming platform to be made available on Roku-enabled devices, and the same was true of HBO Max.

Earlier this year, Roku released estimated data from 2020 indicating that it closed out the year with a total of 51.2 million active accounts. During the pandemic, the company says it created approximately 14 million accounts, and that in the fourth quarter of 2020 alone, its viewers watched a total of 58.7 billion hours.

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