Comcast Will Remove NBC TV Everywhere Channels from Roku in Peacock Distribution Dispute

Negotiations for a deal to bring Peacock to Roku are heating up and Comcast, parent company of NBCUniversal’s Peacock, is making a move to put pressure on the streaming platform that will create more inconvenience for customers in the meantime. Roku has shared with Cord Cutters News that Comcast will be pulling NBCUniversal TV Everywhere channels from Roku, possibly as early as this weekend.

Roku says that Comcast is making the decision to remove TV Everywhere channels in an effort to force the company into making an “unreasonable” agreement for bringing Peacock to Roku. While Roku offered to extend the current agreement in place with Comcast to continue making the channels available throughout the negotiation process, Comcast has reportedly declined and will move forward with removing the channels.

A Roku spokesperson said the following:

“We recently learned that Comcast plans to revoke consumers’ access to NBC TV Everywhere channels on the Roku platform by making Roku delete these channels on / or as early as September 18, 2020. These consumers, a number of whom are Comcast customers, have paid to access these channels via their cable TV subscriptions and now cannot view this content on Roku, their platform of choice.  Comcast is removing the channels in order to try to force Roku to distribute its new Peacock service on unreasonable terms. While the NBC TV Everywhere apps represent an insignificant amount of streaming hours and revenue on our platform, we believe they are important to those consumers who use them, especially when so many Americans are at home. ​

Roku’s goal is to bring consumers a wide selection of content and to help content producers build large and valuable audiences. We offered to extend our existing arrangement for Comcast’s TV Everywhere channels as-is so that they remain accessible while we continue to work towards a Peacock agreement. Comcast has declined our extension offer and so far has also refused fair and equitable business terms for the distribution of Peacock – despite the fact that they stand to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising revenue from its distribution on the Roku platform. We are an independent company that built the No. 1 streaming platform in the U.S. by putting consumers first and reinvesting the revenue from successful distribution partnerships to fund the innovations that enable the fantastic user experience and value we bring to millions of users. Consumers stand to benefit from Comcast and Roku reaching a fair agreement that preserves access to TV Everywhere apps, expands choice in free content and respects the user’s desire to access content on the platform of their choosing. We are committed to trying to achieve that goal.​”

Roku will share information with Roku customers in an email set to go out this morning.

Update: Here’s the full email that was sent to customers this morning:

Dear Roku Customer,​

Comcast informed Roku that they plan to take away consumers’ access to NBCUniversal’s TV Everywhere channels on the Roku platform.  TV Everywhere channels allow Roku users to stream channels that are part of the traditional Pay TV package they subscribe to.   Comcast may require Roku to delete these channels as early as this weekend. ​

This is deeply disappointing and the wrong way to treat subscribers, many of whom are Comcast customers, who pay to access these channels via their cable TV subscriptions and now will no longer be able to view these TV Everywhere channels on Roku, their platform of choice. While these NBC TV Everywhere apps represent a very small number of streaming hours on our platform, we believe they are convenient to people who use them, especially when so many Americans are at home.​

Comcast is removing these channels in order to try to force Roku to distribute its new Peacock service on unreasonable terms. ​

Roku’s goal is to bring you a wide selection of content and to help content producers build large audiences. We asked Comcast to extend our existing arrangement for their TV Everywhere channels as-is so that they remain accessible while we continue to work towards a Peacock agreement. Comcast declined to extend and also refused fair and normal business terms for the distribution of Peacock. ​

Fortunately, Roku customers can still access NBCUniversal’s channels many ways on Roku devices. Existing Xfinity, Charter, or AT&T TV customers can stream NBCUniversal’s channels on the Xfinity Stream, Spectrum TV and AT&T TV channels available in the Roku Channel Store. You can also watch NBCUniversal’s networks through other Live TV providers such as AT&T TV Now, FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV, many of which offer free trials.  Comcast’s decision does not affect access to the Xfinity Stream app.​

We know that you stand to benefit from Comcast and Roku reaching an agreement that preserves access to TV Everywhere channels, expands choice in free content and respects your desire to watch content on the platform of your choosing. We are committed to trying to achieve that goal.​

Regards,​

​Roku​