January 31, 2020
In a first, Roku has notified its 32.3 million platform users that it might pull the Fox Channel app ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, which will be broadcast on Fox.
“Roku’s distribution agreement with Fox Corp. is set to expire on Jan. 31,” the streaming device pioneer said in a statement. “We offered Fox an extension so that Roku can continue to bring a large and valuable audience to Fox. If an agreement is not reached, we will be forced to remove Fox channels from the Roku platform.”
Last-minute TV carriage disputes among pay-TV distributors and content holders have become customary, especially ahead of a marquee events such as the Super Bowl or NCAA March Madness. Roku has now brought the negotiation tactic to streaming video.
Fox said Roku’s last-minute strategy was a “poorly timed negotiating ploy” aimed at driving more favorable contract leverage.
“Roku’s threat to delete Fox apps from its customers’ devices is a naked effort to use its customers as pawns,” Fox said in a statement.
On its Twitter social media app, Roku said people could still stream Fox programming through Fubo TV, Sling TV, Hulu With Live TV, and YouTube TV, among others.
“Many of these services offer a free trial,” Roku tweeted.
Roku, which ranks as the No. 1 streaming device ahead of Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Google Chromecast, reported $179 million in ad-generated platform revenue in the most-recent fiscal period.