Roku could lose YouTube TV during a tense Google negotiation

YouTube TV is great, although it is not cheap, option to cut the cable and instead stream live TV, but it looks like Roku users will soon be able to lose access to the app as the negotiation battle progresses.

Over the last day or so, Roku has been emailing some customers to let them know the “possibility” that YouTube TV may be coming off the platform soon. Because? Roku says negotiations between Google and Roku have been “broken down” because Roku cannot accept new terms from Google that the broadcast company considers “unfair” and believes it could “harm our users.”

Roku’s email says in part:

Guaranteeing a great transmission experience at an exceptional value is the core of our business. We will always defend our users, which is why we cannot accept Google’s unfair and anti-competitive requirements to manipulate search results, affect the use of your data, and ultimately cost you more.

While we are deeply disappointed by Google’s decision to use its monopoly power to try to force terms that directly harm broadcasts, we remain committed to reaching an agreement with Google that preserves your access to YouTube TV, protects its data and ensure a level playing field. for companies to compete.

What are Google’s “unfair” terms? According to Roku via Axios, Google seems to demand much more from Roku than would be considered standard. Apparently, this includes adding a dedicated search row to YouTube within Roku’s own software and “providing a more prominent location in YouTube search results.” This seems as big as blocking search results from other streaming providers while the YouTube app is on the Roku system. The same would apply to music, which would see voice commands for searching for default music in YouTube Music when the YouTube app is open, even if the system has a different default.

In addition, Google has apparently “threatened” to require Roku to use specific types of chips or memory cards in its streaming products that would apparently force Roku to raise the price. The most affordable Roku streamers are tiny Google’s own Chromecast.

These terms are apparently related to the renewed availability of YouTube TV on Roku. As it stands now, Roku will not accept terms that could cause YouTube TV to be removed, at least temporarily. A Roku spokesman said:

Google is trying to use its position of monopoly on YouTube to force Roku to accept predatory, anti-competitive, and discriminatory terms that directly harm Roku and our users. Roku doesn’t ask Google for an extra dollar of value. We simply cannot agree to terms that manipulate consumer search results, inflate the cost of our products, and violate established industry data practices.

Google has yet to comment on this developing story, and so far we haven’t heard what Roku’s face of the updated terms is.

Rewinding the clock, it’s worth highlighting Roku’s story with such negotiations. Last year, Fox and Roku barely finished negotiations in time for the Super Bowl which, if left unfinished, would have blocked the main event for Roku users. NBC Peacock and HBO Max also released without Roku apps, as negotiations stalled between the companies.

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