YouTube TV is still available on Roku after months of uncertainty, due to a contractual dispute following the end of their initial agreement in April 2021.
The fate of YouTube TV on Roku in 2021 was uncertain for seven months from April 2021 until December 2021, when the two streaming giants were at loggerheads. The contention was caused by the end of their contractual agreement on 30 April 2021.
However, the two streaming giants reached an agreement ahead of the deadline set by Google of 9 December 2021. The agreement meant that YouTube TV would still be available on Roku, but additionally, the entire Google app would also still be available on Roku.
What was the dispute between Google and Roku?
In summary, the dispute between Google, which owns YouTube, and Roku began after their contractual agreement ended on Friday, 30 April 2021.
Following the end of the contract, Roku released a statement claiming that Google was being unreasonable in negotiating the terms of their contract.
It alleged that Google wanted preferential treatment, by asking for preferential placement on Roku devices and access to data on user behaviour.
A request which Roku does not provide to anyone. Google countered the statement by stating that Roku’s allegations were untrue and baseless.
Is YouTube TV on Roku?
During the time of the dispute between Google and Roku, new Roku device users were more affected than the existing users. This is as new Roku device users needed to use backdoor access to YouTube in order to download the YouTube TV app.
Moreover, existing users were also affected if they needed to redownload the app. In light of this stalemate, Google set a Thursday, 9 December 2021 deadline to reach a resolution with Roku on their stalemate.
At the time the deadline was set, Google was threatening to not only remove YouTube and YouTube TV from Roku devices, but it was also threatening to remove all its related apps from the streaming device.
Luckily, the resolution between the two entities was reached on Wednesday, 8 December 2021. The amicable resolution meant that YouTube TV would be, and still is, available on Roku devices.
Roku’s response to the resolution with Google
After Google and Roku reached a resolution and renewed their contractual agreement, Roku commented on the new agreement with Google through Roku representative, Dallas Lawrence.
At the time, Lawrence was quoted as stating, “This agreement represents a positive development for our shared customers, making both YouTube and YouTube TV available for all streamers on the Roku platform.”
This was in stark contrast to the initial lengthy statement the company had shared during the contractual negotiation breakdown, when Roku had accused Google of requesting special treatment following the end of their contract in April 2021.
Google’s response to the resolution with Roku
Google on the other hand, had more to say following the amicable agreement. Following the confirmation of the agreement, YouTube spokesperson, Mariana De Felice was quoted as saying:
“We’re happy to share that we’ve reached a deal with Roku to continue distributing the YouTube and YouTube TV apps on Roku devices. This means that Roku customers will continue to have access to YouTube and that the YouTube TV app will once again be available in the Roku store for both new and existing members. We are pleased to have a partnership that benefits our mutual users.”
Reactions to the agreement
While the news of Google and Roku reaching a seemingly amicable agreement ahead of the deadline was met with welcomed responses, insiders have questioned the quick change of heart and the concise statements shared by the companies.
Especially considering the mudslinging which took place during the dispute, more so from Roku. However, overall, the news is a welcomed sigh of relief for Roku customers.
When the contractual agreement between Google, the owner of YouTube, and Roku ended, Roku accused Google of requesting preferential treatment during the negotiations of the new terms of their agreement. An accusation which Google labelled as untrue and baseless.
In further response, Google then extended a deadline to reach a resolution with Roku for Thursday, 9 December 2021, or it would remove all its apps from Roku.
While the implications thereof would have been grave, Roku customers will hopefully never have to know, as the two companies reached an agreement on Wednesday, 8 December 2021.