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Roku, Google Reach Deal for YouTube and YouTube TV Apps

Roku and Google have buried the hatchet, announcing a multiyear extension for both YouTube and YouTube TV apps on the Roku streaming platform.

The companies reached the agreement just days before their previous deal covering YouTube on Roku was set to expire Dec. 9. In April 2021, Roku’s deal to distribute YouTube TV expired and Roku removed the app from its channel store at the time (while the YouTube TV service remained accessible through the main YouTube).

“This agreement represents a positive development for our shared customers, making both YouTube and YouTube TV available for all streamers on the Roku platform,” a Roku rep said in a statement.

A YouTube spokesperson said, “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.”

Terms of the deal extension weren’t disclosed. Roku has previously said it does not earn any kind of revenue from the YouTube app.

Shares of Roku shot up more than 9% in premarket trading Wednesday on news of the pact.

Roku had taken its fight with Google public, complaining that the internet giant’s distribution terms for YouTube were anticompetitive. Roku’s plaints attracted attention from national lawmakers who have already been looking into reining in how Google and other large tech companies abuse their market power.

Specifically, Roku complained that Google required that Roku implement search, voice and data features for YouTube that it didn’t demand of other connected-TV partners. For example, under their previous deal, reached in 2019, Google mandated that YouTube have a dedicated search-results row in Roku’s general search results. It’s not immediately clear whether the new agreement between Roku and Google changes the way Roku’s platform is required to surface YouTube search results.

Google had called Roku’s claims “unproductive and baseless” and said its goal was “to find a resolution that benefits our mutual users.”




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