SAN JOSE, Calif.—One of the most popular virtual MVPD platforms could soon be gone from one of the most popular streaming platforms, as Roku has officially warned customers that YouTube TV may be removed from the platform as a result of unsuccessful negotiations with its parent company, Google.
In an email to its customers sent out on April 26, Roku says that recent negotiations have broken down with Google because it “cannot accept Google’s unfair terms as we believe they could harm our users.”
Roku cited what it called “unfair and anticompetitive requirements to manipulate” search results, impact the usage of data and raise the cost for consumers as key factors in its negotiations with Google.
“While we are deeply disappointed in Google’s decision to use their monopoly power to try and force terms that will directly harm streamers, we remain committed to reaching an agreement with Google that preserves your access to YouTube TV, protects your data and ensures a level playing field for companies to compete,” the email reads.
A YouTube TV spokesperson provided the following statement to TV Tech regarding the news:
“We have been working with Roku in good faith to reach an agreement that benefits our viewers and their customers. Unfortunately, Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations. We're disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations. All of our work with them has been focused on ensuring a high quality and consistent experience for our viewers. We have made no requests to access user data or interfere in search results. We hope we can resolve this for the sake of our mutual users.”
It has played hardball with major companies before. Roku was among the final streaming platforms that agreed to terms to offer HBO Max, which likely helped contribute—along with launching on Amazon Fire TV and the release of major movies on the platform—to HBO Max’s growth in subscribers.
YouTube TV, meanwhile, is among the most used vMVPD services, offering much of traditional pay-TV channel access. In December 2020, it reported that 120 million people used YouTube TV to stream content on their TV. YouTube has been rising in price, however.
No details were provided as to when YouTube TV may be pulled from Roku if negotiations ultimately fail.
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