YouTube Could Be Dropped from Roku Before the End of the Year

Roku and Google’s dispute continues. If an agreement cannot be reached before Roku and Google’s current agreement for keeping YouTube on the Roku platform expires in December, the app will be dropped. 

Earlier this year, Roku and Google were unable to come to an agreement to keep YouTube TV on Roku and the app was removed from the Roku Channel Store. Roku claimed Google wanted to skew search results in its favor and change the Roku user experience. Google responded, saying Roku was making “baseless claims.”

The move only affected the live TV streaming service, YouTube TV, not the regular YouTube app. Those who already had the YouTube TV app were able to continue using the streaming service on Roku devices, but the app was no longer available for new downloads. Google then created a workaround, allowing users to access YouTube TV through the regular YouTube app. 

In response to the workaround, a Roku spokesperson said: “Google’s actions are the clear conduct of an unchecked monopolist bent on crushing fair competition and harming consumer choice.”

Now, Roku is letting customers know that with an expiration date on the agreement for keeping the YouTube app on the platform looming, the two sides aren’t any closer to making a deal. In a blog post Thursday morning, the company shared more information about the reasons behind the dispute.

“There are two primary concerns we are working to address: First, Google continues to interfere with Roku’s independent search results, requiring that we preference YouTube over other content providers. This is a concern shared by many companies who believe that customers deserve neutral and relevant results to their search queries. Second, Google discriminates against Roku by demanding search, voice, and data features that they do not insist on from other streaming platforms.”

Roku continued, “We continue to believe that streamers stand to benefit from Google and Roku reaching a fair agreement and we remain committed to trying to achieve that goal. For Roku, this is about maintaining our independence, protecting our customers, and ensuring healthy competition in the streaming industry that benefits millions of consumers.”