A travesty was averted in the closing days leading up to the Super Bowl. Towards the end of the end, last week, Roku announced that the Fox app was being pulled from their service over a carriage impasse. That happened immediately on Thursday, which meant that anyone that wanted to see the Super Bowl in 4K (for free) would not be able to see it. As many of you have probably noticed, that didn’t happen.
On Friday, a day later, Roku announced that they had made a deal with Fox and the app was immediately put back on the service. You know, like it almost never even happened. Granted, there are probably a lot of people that were going to watch the game through actual cable subscribers or anyone signed up with those digital television services like YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, or even Spectrum. I can’t imagine that many people would be hurt by this, but apparently, it was enough to work out a deal.
“We are delighted that we reached an agreement with FOX to distribute FOX channels on the Roku platform. Roku customers can stream the Super Bowl through FOX Now, Fox Sports and NFL in addition to other ways,” reads a statement from Roku.
“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,” reads a parallel statement from Fox.
Now, Roku isn’t completely without fault. This is a tactic that is common with the service, which was mentioned in a Bloomberg report this past December about how “Roku executives will threaten to cancel a channel if its owner doesn’t give Roku a larger cut of ad sales,” and we’re quite curious if Roku got its way. Of course, Fox called out its big guns on the Fox News channel, with hosts like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, to put pressure on the streamer to get the deal done.
Now, some are talking about how Roku bullied Fox, but we don’t know who got their way. At the same time, Amazon and Google had a feud for years over ad-revenue, which is why YouTube TV was never offered on Amazon devices, nor where any of Google’s devices available on Amazon. Sony closed their ecosystem to only support PlayStation Vue, which came to an end the other day. Now, YouTube TV is available on the service.
In the end, it’s all about money. With the amount of money that the NFL gets from ad-revenue, you think the NFL would sit idly by and let two companies play chicken with their biggest commodity? Nope. I think no one really got what they wanted, but the NFL probably stepped in and made them work it out. If you think about it, honestly, they need the NFL more than the NFL needs them.