Roku Pulls YouTube TV App as Negotiations With Google Break Down

After Roku’s distribution agreement with Google for YouTube TV expired yesterday and the two companies were unable to finalize a new deal, the YouTube TV app was pulled from Roku’s channel store — reports The Verge.

Roku says it will continue to provide existing subscribers with access to YouTube TV “unless Google takes actions that require the full removal of the channel”. It should be noted that the regular YouTube app remains unaffected.

Roku and Google are competitors in both the TV hardware and content spaces.

As the two companies failed to reach a new distribution agreement for YouTube TV, Roku accused Google of strong-arming the platform into complying with anti-competitive terms that would influence search results, provide Google with access to user data that no other streaming service has, and unduly benefit Google products.

“We have made no requests to access user data or interfere with search results. We hope we can resolve this for the sake of our mutual users,” said Google earlier this week.

In a statement yesterday, Roku said that it has “only asked Google for four simple commitments”:

First, not to manipulate consumer search results. Second, not to require access to data not available to anyone else. Third, not to leverage their YouTube monopoly to force Roku to accept hardware requirements that would increase consumer costs. Fourth, not to act in a discriminatory and anticompetitive manner against Roku.

Firing back in a blog post of its own, Google said that its “offer to Roku was simple and still stands: renew the YouTube TV deal under the existing reasonable terms”.

Google also claims that Roku is playing tricks to “renegotiate a separate deal encompassing the YouTube main app, which does not expire until December”.

Roku had already warned users of the possibility in an email earlier this week, and new subscriptions to the YouTube TV app on the Roku platform have now been turned off “until an agreement is reached”.

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