Roku vs. Google — The Battle Continues over YouTube TV
For years cable subscribers have seen notices on their televisions about service disruption because of disagreements between local TV stations or networks and the cable companies. The disagreement is usually over costs that have to be paid by the cable company for rights to rebroadcast the programming.
With many people now cutting the cord and turning to streaming, a new fight has materialized. This one a battle between a streaming provider and a content supplier. Roku and Google are now in a big dispute that could mean that YouTube TV may not be available on Roku devices.
I have a few Roku devices attached to the TVs at my house. I also subscribe to YouTube TV, which is owned by Google.
This battle is different in that it isn't over rebroadcast rights. An email from Roku to its customers on Monday, April 26th, described the problem this way: "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."
Roku's email went on to encourage customers to contact Google and urge them to reach an agreement and to follow standard industry practices pledging not to require access to sensitive search data or to manipulate your search results. "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."
While the two companies continue to work this out, Roku sent out another email on Friday, April 30th with just how negotiations are going...
"We are disappointed to share the news that Google has chosen to let the YouTube TV contract expire.
While this news is unfortunate, we wanted to let you know that we are taking an extra step to ensure existing Roku users like yourself retain access to YouTube TV while we work to reach an agreement."
Roku will continue to offer existing users access to YouTube TV on their devices, unless Google takes actions that require the full removal of the channel. No new subscribers to YouTube TV will be allowed at this time. Also -- and this is important to current subscribers -- DO NOT delete the YouTube TV channel as it will not be available to re-download on Roku devices.