Roku Warns YouTube TV May Go Dark in Alphabet Dispute

Roku may cut off access to YouTube TV in a dispute with the app's parent, Alphabet.
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Roku  (ROKU) - Get Report has begun notifying customers that they may lose access to Alphabet's  (GOOG) - Get Report YouTube TV app after negotiations between the two companies broke down.

Shares of Roku, the San Jose, Calif., streaming-technology company, at last check were up 1.51% to $362.27. Google parent Alphabet was little changed around $2,332.14.

In an email Monday to its YouTube TV users, Roku said recent negotiations with Alphabet’s Google to carry the app “have broken down because Roku cannot accept Google’s unfair terms as we believe they could harm our users,” Bloomberg reported. 

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"Google is 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 said in a statement. 

The email referred to “Google’s unfair and anticompetitive requirements to manipulate your search results, impact the usage of your data and ultimately cost you more.”

Given antitrust suits against Google, investigations by competition authorities of anticompetitive behavior, and U.S. congressional hearings into Google’s practices, Roku said, "it should come as no surprise that Google is now demanding unfair and anti-competitive terms that harm Roku’s users."

In response, Alphabet said in a statement that it had "been working with Roku in good faith to reach an agreement that benefits our viewers and their customers."

"Unfortunately, Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations," the statement continued. "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."

YouTube TV offers streaming services for $64.99 a month. Its contract on the Roku platform is set to expire in the coming days. The main YouTube app, which is free, is part of a separate agreement and wouldn’t be affected.

Roku recently has had other disputes with streaming services, Bloomberg noted.

AT&T's  (T) - Get Report HBO Max struck a deal with Roku in December after a long impasse that kept the service off the platform. 

In addition, Comcast's  (CMCSA) - Get Report NBCUniversal reached an agreement to have its Peacock streaming service carried on Roku after a months-long dispute over sharing advertising sales.

Roku took a hit last week after Cathie Wood's ARK Innovation ETF  (ARKK) - Get Report sold more than 70,000 shares of the streaming platform following Netflix's  (NFLX) - Get Report disappointing subscriber results.

Netflix shares fell after the Los Gatos, Calif., streaming giant beat Wall Street's first-quarter-earnings expectations Tuesday but fell short on subscription growth.

In February Roku reported a surprise profit for the fourth quarter as the streaming platform surpassed 51 million active accounts.

Roku is scheduled to report results on May 6.