There’s no end in sight to the Roku-YouTube TV fight. Roku’s Scott Rosenberg, SVP Platform Business, was asked point-blank about the dispute on the company’s Q3 earnings call. Rosenberg didn’t offer a significant update, but he reiterated, “It’s not about the money.”
The two companies have been at odds since late April over the distribution of the YouTube TV app on the Roku platform.
Wood pointed users to Roku's recent blog post.
“Shortly after we posted this update to our customers and raised concerns about their anticompetitive conduct, Google notified us that, unless we reach agreement on renewal terms prior to the expiration of our current agreement, we will not be able to offer YouTube on the Roku platform for new users. While not surprising, this kind of blatant retaliation and monopoly conduct is likely why the U.S. Department of Justice and 30 State Attorneys General are investigating Google for violating fair competition laws. Google’s actions are designed to stifle competition and harm consumers which is why there is broad bipartisan support in Congress today to rein in monopoly abuses. We will continue to try to keep YouTube (and YouTube TV) available for Roku customers, and will provide updates as appropriate.”
“Recently we have seen a disturbing trend that threatens the vibrant and competitive TV streaming ecosystem. Rather than embracing a mutually beneficial partnership approach, some Big Tech enterprises are using their market power to extend control over independent businesses, like Roku, to benefit their broader business objectives at the expense of the consumer, putting a fair and open competitive streaming marketplace at risk.”
“This is not a carriage situation,” according to company officials with Roku. “We’re not seeking more money or economics in this relationship. We want Google to agree not to try and dictate certain behaviors on Roku or access data … We think these are pretty fair and reasonable.”
Roku’s issue isn’t with Google’s price point — Google wants to get its hands on Roku’s data. Roku believes that Google manipulated its platform’s search results and sought to control user data using Roku’s equipment. Privacy has become a big deal for Roku conflicting with Google who has built its businesses off of consumer data. Roku says that they don’t make a single dollar off of YouTube’s ads, but YouTube makes millions off of existing on the Roku platform.
Furthering this point, Roku’s blog post elaborated on the company’s concerns.
“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.”