Recognition: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
- Roku’s ongoing negotiations with Google could result in Roku users losing YouTube TV access.
- According to Roku, the various requests made by Google to change the Roku platform to give YouTube more preference are “predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory”.
- Nothing is set in stone yet, but anyone using YouTube TV on a Roku should be nervous.
Roku is by far the market leader when it comes to media streamers. Whether it’s a streaming stick, a set-top box or even a full-fledged television, millions of people consume media content with Rokus.
Throughout its history, Roku has used this dominance of the market to secure cheaper contracts with streaming providers and to maintain the integrity of its platform. Unfortunately, these struggles sometimes result in user losses. As a current example, an HBO Max channel was only displayed on Rokus long after the service started due to negotiation issues between the two companies.
Connected: The Best Roku Streaming Players: What Are Your Choices?
Now it looks like Roku users may have problems with YouTube TV on the horizon. According to AxiosThe ongoing negotiations between Roku and Google are not going well. As a result, Roku preemptively notifies users via email that the YouTube TV platform may disappear from Rokus in the near future.
This email notification is likely a negotiation tactic. Roku is demonstrating to Google that it has no problem removing YouTube TV from millions of Rokus. The company likely hopes Google will recognize this seriousness and go back.
Roku, Google, and YouTube TV: What’s Up?
According to AxiosGoogle reportedly asks Roku to make various key changes to better favor YouTube products. These include the following:
- Create a dedicated search results line for YouTube in the Roku Smart TV interface
- Promote YouTube search results
- Block search results from other streaming content providers while using YouTube on Rokus
- Prefer YouTube music scores from voice commands performed on the Roku remote while the YouTube app is open
- Encourage Roku to use certain chipsets and / or memory cards in future hardware
Roku calls these demands “predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory”.
Now you might be wondering why YouTube TV is in the crosshairs when these inquiries involve multiple YouTube products. That’s because Google and Roku’s YouTube TV contract needs to be renewed. Roku accuses Google of trying to manipulate that contract – and use its massive dominance on YouTube – to force Roku to change its platform to better favor Google.
See also: How to cancel your YouTube TV subscription
As a result, Roku threatens to drop YouTube TV altogether and simply let the contract expire. Unfortunately, this would result in Roku users losing access to YouTube TV on their streamers even if the channel is already installed. Of course, this would not affect their ability to use YouTube TV on other platforms.
We will update this article as soon as we know the outcome of these negotiations.