As the damage from the on-demand contract continues to bite, it has been reported that dwindling signs of a settlement between Roku and Google will leave new Roku streaming devices without YouTube and YouTube TV access beginning in early December. Roku pulled the YouTube TV software from its channel store in May, after it and Google made disputed claims about onerous licensing demands.
“Since April, we’ve been working to renew our partnership with Google so that we can continue to offer YouTube TV to our shared customers,” Roku said in a new blog post, “and we committed to keeping the YouTube TV service available to existing YouTube TV users while we try to resolve our concerns.”
Those conversations, however, appear to have been fruitless. Roku claims that the problem isn’t money but rather Google’s requests for visibility on its devices.
“First, Google continues to tamper with Roku’s independent search results,” the company says, “requiring us to prioritize YouTube over other video sources.” At the same time, Roku claims that Google is “demanding search, voice, and data functions that other streaming platforms do not require on.”
Roku warns customers that Google may simply remove the YouTube feature from the device entirely. However, from Google’s point of view, this is not the case.
“Because we haven’t been able to continue our discussions in good faith, our partnership for all-new Roku devices will regretfully terminate on December 9,” Google said in a statement to Axios. “However, we are allowing Roku to continue providing both YouTube and YouTube TV apps to all existing users to ensure that they are not disrupted.”
In short, people who currently have the YouTube and YouTube TV apps on their Roku devices should not be concerned about them being removed from the menu. However, if you purchase a new Roku streamer, you will not install the YouTube apps.
Roku claims that Google makes “hundreds of millions of dollars” from its YouTube app on Roku devices.
The losers in all of this are, of course, Roku owners or potential Roku owners. While the firm has launched a slew of new original programming and lives streaming TV channels to its platform in recent months, access to YouTube is unquestionably seen as a must-have feature for any set-top box.