Roku today is warning subscribers that they could lose YouTube TV due to a dispute with its owner, Google, although the device maker is not offering a specific timeline for when that could happen.
Update: Google confirmed this morning that new Roku users will not be able to download YouTube or YouTube TV apps as of December 9. However, previously downloaded apps will continue to work.
“Since our negotiations with Roku earlier this year, we’ve continued to work with them to find a resolution that benefits our mutual users,” Google said. “Roku has once again chosen to make unproductive and baseless claims rather than try to work constructively with us. Since we haven’t been able to continue our conversations in good faith, our partnership for all new Roku devices will unfortunately end on December 9. We are, however, giving Roku the ability to continue distributing both YouTube and YouTube TV apps to all existing users to make sure they are not impacted.”
Google and Roku have been engaged in a carriage battle since April when Roku removed the YouTube TV app from its Channel Store when it could not reach a new agreement with Google for the live streaming app.
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But Roku customers who had previously downloaded the app can still use it. Plus, Google added a link to YouTube TV on its YouTube app which allows Roku users to access the service. YouTube is currently still available on Roku to all users.
Roku says in the blog post that the “differences” between the companies still exist which could trigger a wider blackout that would include the complete removal of YouTube TV and perhaps YouTube later in the year. The device maker charges that Google is trying to interfere with its search results, an allegation that Google denies.
“While we are working to resolve our differences, we want to be transparent about these negotiations,” Roku stated today. “As we shared in April, the threat remains that Google may remove YouTubeTV from the Roku platform.”
Roku alleges the dispute is not over money, but what it says is Google’s attempt to exert anti-competitive practices on its business.
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Instability like this is the only thing that can stop the transition from OTA broadcasting to streaming.