Roku Calls Out Google for ‘Predatory’ Terms that Could ‘Harm Users’

Photo from RokuPlayer’s Instagram

Roku Calls Out Google for ‘Predatory’ Terms that Could ‘Harm Users’

By Movieguide® Staff

Roku recently announced to its customers that their YouTube TV service could go offline due to Google’s “predatory” and “monopoly” business model. 

YouTube TV responded with a statement, claiming that they are discussing a new deal with Roku. 

“Unfortunately, Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations,” the statement said. “We’re disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations. All of our work with them has been focused on ensuring a high quality and consistent experience for our viewers. We have made no requests to access user data or interfere with search results. We hope we can resolve this for the sake of our mutual users.”

However, Roku stands by its original claim. According to Deadline, a Roku spokesperson released a statement that slammed Google for “attempting to use its YouTube monopoly position to force Roku into accepting predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory terms that will directly harm Roku and our users.” 

Roku sent an email to its customers on the topic, notifying them that Google may require Roku to upgrade microchips to host YouTube TV.  

Deadline reported

YouTube TV, a streaming bundle of linear channels which launched in 2017, arrived on Roku in 2018. The main YouTube app dates back years earlier on Roku, and the current agreement for it is understood to not be on the verge of expiration. Executives at Google corporate parent Alphabet said last year that YouTube TV had passed 3 million subscribers. Along with Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV, it is one of the leading packagers of TV via streaming.

Financial terms are often at the root of distribution friction, but Roku says in the case of YouTube TV it is more concerned about the use of data than it is about money. The company insists it is not asking for “a single additional dollar in value” from YouTube in a new agreement.

Despite Roku’s complaints, the statement concluded: 

“We believe consumers stand to benefit from Google and Roku reaching a fair agreement that preserves consumers access to YouTube TV, protects user data and promotes a competitive, free and open marketplace. We are committed to trying to achieve that goal.”

Google is no stranger to antitrust claims and other companies accusing the business of unlawful monopoly tactics.  

Movieguide® recently reported:

On Jan. 11, Rumble sued Google in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California’s San Jose Division. The video company alleged that the tech giant’s search algorithms violate antitrust laws and push traffic through YouTube and away from Rumble. 

“By unfairly rigging its search algorithms such that YouTube is the first-listed links ‘above the fold’ on its search results page, Google, through its search engine, was able to wrongfully divert massive traffic to YouTube, depriving Rumble of the additional traffic, users, uploads, brand awareness, and revenue it would have otherwise received,” the complaint reads.

The Toronto-based company owns exclusive rights to the original content on their site. However, Rumble claims that Google’s violations unlawfully keep other platforms from competing with YouTube…