Roku is threatening to remove all Fox standalone channels today due to a carriage disagreement with the programmer. The move has football fans running for alternatives because Fox will stream Sunday’s Super Bowl on its Fox Sports app.
Update: As of 5:30 p.m. ET, Roku has removed the Fox channels from its Channel Store. However, the channels, such as Fox News and Fox Sports, continue to work on Roku if they were previously downloaded. Click to see the video below:
Reports are continuing that Roku has dropped Fox. No, just from the Channel Store. You can still watch Fox channels on Roku if they were previously downloaded. Here’s proof: pic.twitter.com/6atJGNIEKN
— The TV Answer Man (@SwanniOnTV) January 31, 2020
But Roku tells USA Today that all Fox channels, including those previously downloaded, will be removed tomorrow, February 1. (Update #1 ends.)
As of 5:30 a.m. ET today, Roku was still carrying the Fox apps, but the company last night sent an e-mail to customers saying the Fox channels would be removed today.
“On January 31, 2020, all standalone Fox channels will no longer be available on Roku streaming devices,” the e-mail stated.
Roku added that its customers could still watch the Super Bowl on such live streaming services as fuboTV, Sling TV, YouTubeTV and Hulu Live. (Assuming they carry Fox in their markets; not all do.) The company also said an antenna is a viable alternative.
Fox issued a statement saying the Roku e-mail was a “negotiation ploy” and that it preferred to resolve the matter in private. The programmer denied a Roku allegation that it asked the streaming company to pull its channels.
While pay TV operators often lose channels in fee fights, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV rarely do with the streaming hardware companies successfully negotiating new carriage pacts prior to any blackouts.
Fox this morning has removed Roku from its web page that promotes the Super Bowl stream. The programmer is now advocating streaming fans to use Apple TV or Fire TV for its 4K stream, or Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox One, Android TV or Samsung Smart TVs for the high-def stream.
Earlier in the week, Fox said Fire TV was its preferred device for the 4K stream, which could have been a hint that a carriage battle with Roku was imminent.
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— Phillip Swann