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Monday, May 20, 2024

Roku, YouTube TV Resolve Impasse Before Deadline

  • Roku and YouTube TV reached a multiyear agreement that will keep YouTube TV on Roku's platform.
  • The two sides had been at an impasse.
Roku/Design: Alex Brooks

Roku has reached a deal with Google to keep YouTube TV available through its devices.

The multiyear agreement means YouTube and YouTube TV will remain available to Roku’s 56.4 million subscribers. 

Both sides had sought to pressure the other by issuing public statements, with Google saying it would pull the YouTube TV app from Roku on Dec. 9 if no deal was reached.

  • Roku claimed that Google was making anti-competitive demands, such as preferential placement for its apps and insisting Roku use certain chips.
  • Google countered that Roku’s claims were “baseless” and were focused on “ensuring a high quality and consistent experience for viewers.”
  • YouTube TV had over 3 million subscribers last year, and is believed to have over 4 million now, making it the likely top online live TV streaming provider. Disney’s Hulu + Live TV offering had 4 million as of Oct. 2. 

Impact on Sports Viewers

YouTube TV carries a wide variety of sports programming across ESPN, TNT, the four major U.S. TV networks, as well as niche and PPV options.

The service dropped Bally’s 21 regional sports networks in September 2020. Hulu did the same the following month. YouTube TV also dropped the sports network NESN in January.

YouTube became a refuge for sports fans during the pandemic: Sports viewing on the platform increased 65% in July 2020 compared to the previous year.

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