Roku and Fox last night settled their carriage battle, announcing a new agreement that will permit Roku customers to continue watching Fox channels on their streaming devices.
The pact means that Roku owners will also be able to stream the Super Bowl on Sunday on the Fox Sports app in both 4K and High-Definition. The possibility that the Super Bowl would be blacked out angered countless Roku customers yesterday, which caused the company stock to decline 7.4 percent.
While we don’t know the terms of the Roku-Fox agreement, it’s safe to say that Roku executives are breathing a sigh of relief today. The loss of the Super Bowl could have triggered a major customer exodus.
“We are delighted that we reached an agreement with FOX to distribute FOX channels on the Roku platform,” Roku wrote last night on Twitter. “Roku customers can stream the Super Bowl through FOX Now, Fox Sports and NFL in addition to other ways.”
(The 4K stream and HD stream will be on the Fox Sports app while the NFL Network and Fox Now apps will carry the HD stream only. Fox does not own or operate the NFL Network.)
“We are pleased to have reached a successful agreement with Roku. FOX’s leading suite of apps will continue to be available on the Roku platform,” Fox stated.
What remains unclear today is whether the Fox and Roku dispute was the beginning of similar carriage battles involving streaming devices, or whether it was an anomaly. Until now, unlike the pay TV industry, streaming platforms such as Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV have rarely lost channels due to distribution disagreements.
The lack of uncertainty over channel carriage is one reason why so many consumers have purchased the devices to watch their favorite shows and streaming services.
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— Phillip Swann