YouTube Stays on Roku Devices as Companies Strike Multi-Year Deal

By Reuters
Reuters
Reuters
December 9, 2021 Updated: December 9, 2021

YouTube and Roku Inc announced on Wednesday a multi-year pact to end a battle that dragged for months over accusations of anti-competitive conduct and threatened to strip the internet’s biggest video streaming service from tens of millions of TV devices.

“Roku and Google have agreed to a multi-year extension for both YouTube and YouTube TV,” the companies said on Twitter. “This agreement represents a positive development for our shared customers, making both YouTube and YouTube TV available for all streamers on the Roku platform.”

YouTube owner Alphabet Inc’s Google and streaming platform Roku had publicly feuded since April over technical and financial terms for distributing YouTube’s flagship app and its YouTube TV service.

Roku company logo
The Roku company logo is displayed on a building in Austin, on Oct. 25, 2021. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

Roku had opposed what it described as unfair terms such as favoring YouTube in search results and updating its hardware. YouTube had described its efforts as consumer-friendly, and said Roku was the one using its market power to force a better deal.

Public fights over distribution agreements and splitting ad revenue have become common in the broadcast and streaming video fields.

Roku removed the YouTube TV app from its channel store after the agreement for that app expired. YouTube, which has more than 2 billion monthly users, threatened to pull its main app from Roku on Thursday, when the deal for the service was to end.

Major apps such as YouTube being built into devices such as Roku televisions and streaming media players are a major selling point for the hardware. And though its users could access the YouTube services in other ways, the multi-year agreement staves off a threat to Roku’s business.

Roku said last month it has 56.4 million active accounts.

By Paresh Dave

Reuters