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NBCU to Pull TV Everywhere Apps From Roku Over No Deal For Peacock

Fern Siegel

For months, Roku and NBCU have been fighting over the distribution of Peacock streaming platform, which hasn’t been available since the service launched on July 15.

However, NBCU has told Roku it would force the company to remove NBCU’s TV Everywhere channels by midnight tonight, including the NBC app. That could mean deleting 46 apps in total, reports Variety. NBCU’s distribution deal for the TV apps with Roku ended in August.

The big issue is access to advertising on ad-supported versions of the streamer.

Roku says Peacock won’t grant ad access. Roku is asking for 30 percent of ad inventory; NBC refuses to share any ad avails.

A Roku rep stated the remove move is an attempt to force Roku to “distribute its new Peacock service on unreasonable terms” (a full statement is below).

The company also sent a message to customers:

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 , 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 work towards a Peacock agreement.

NBCU has told The Streamable in a statement: “We are disappointed Roku is removing its users’ free access to NBCUniversal programming - 11 network apps, 12 NBC Owned Station apps, 23 Telemundo Owned Station apps - and continues to block access to the only free premium streaming service available in the market, Peacock. Roku’s unreasonable demands ultimately hurt both their consumers and their consumer equipment partners to whom they’ve promised access to all apps in the marketplace. “

Peacock has been unavailable on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, two giant streaming platforms, since its launch. Despite this, Comcast recently announced that the service now has has 15 million sign-ups since launch.

Even if NBCU pulls the TV Everywhere channels this weekend, Roku users can still access NBCU channels on Roku devices, via existing Comcast Xfinity, Charter and AT&T TV apps as well as through internet live TV providers such as Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, AT&T TV Now and fuboTV.

Roku Full Statement

“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.​”

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