When Roku sent a notice that they would be dropping Fox apps just before the Super Bowl, there were many questions about what caused the disagreement and which side was refusing to come to an agreement.
Since then, Roku’s CEO hasn’t given many details away, only commenting that Roku almost always comes to a “mutually acceptable” agreement with channel owners, and that he himself watched the Super Bowl on a Fox app on his Roku TV.
Now, a report from The Information has added another layer to the story. Sources for the The Information shared that the disagreement was due in part to Roku’s strategy to being more content to The Roku Channel, which the company uses to show free ad-supported content to Roku users. Ads were also part of the conversation, which many had already assumed was at the forefront of the disagreement.
“Roku has asked entertainment companies such as Fox for programming that can run on The Roku Channel. Roku has also asked some companies to spend marketing dollars on The Roku Channel,” the sources said. When Fox refused to provide content for The Roku Channel or meet the terms of the ad agreement Roku asked for, the apps were removed.
The report calls companies like Roku and Amazon, the companies selling some of the most popular streaming devices on the market, gatekeepers. As gatekeepers, these companies have the power to put channels in front of huge audiences, along with the power to remove them from their platform and drastically reduce streaming viewership. With this power, companies like Roku have the upper hand when it comes to negotiations like the one with Fox.
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