What the Roku vs. YouTube TV dispute means for streamers
UPDATE: In an email sent to its user base on April 30, Roku announced that Google has decided to let the contract between the two tech giants expire. This means that new YouTube TV users will not be able to access the service on Roku. Read more here.
Are you worried about the Roku vs YouTube TV dispute over your live streaming setup?
Roku sent shockwaves through the cable cutter community on Monday by sending a heavily worded email to its user base, warning of a potential break with popular live TV service YouTube TV.
“There’s no good in these fights,” silver expert Clark Howard said.
“And in these fights, we are always just pawns. As consumers, we are treated like garbage in these offers.
In this article, I’ll walk you through what Roku’s letter says and try to interpret what it may mean for streamers. Then, with Clark’s help, I’ll present an action plan for Roku and YouTube TV customers.
What Roku’s Letter to Users Said About YouTube TV
In case you have not received a copy of this letter sent by email from Roku, this is what it looks like:
Ouch. This email hardly inspires confidence in the relationship between the streaming partners.
And it’s getting worse and worse.
In a rebuttal to the letter, a spokesperson for YouTube TV proposed Axes the following comment:
“We worked in good faith with Roku to come to a deal that benefits our viewers and their customers.
“Unfortunately, Roku often engages in these types of tactics in its negotiations. We are disappointed that they have chosen to make unfounded claims while we continue our current negotiations.
That sounds bad. But keep in mind that these companies are in the midst of tense negotiations worth millions.
So even short-term bad publicity can be worth it if they both get what they want in the end.
What streamers should take away from Roku’s letter
Are you confused by all these quarrels?
Money expert Clark Howard made sense of all of this nonsense in a recent episode of his podcast.
You can listen to his early thoughts here, but also read on for some advice Clark gave me during a one-on-one chat after this recording.
Clark compares these negotiations to that of a strike.
“The two are going to say nasty things to each other and YouTube TV might even shut down for a while on Roku devices,” Clark said.
“But when one side or the other hurts enough, they’re probably going to make a deal.”
Some things to consider about the letter
With that in mind, here are some quick thoughts to consider as takeaways from Roku’s letter and YouTube TV’s rebuttal:
- A break can emerge: Roku sets the stage for a potential break with YouTube TV. They have a contract that is likely to expire soon, and negotiations for a new deal are causing tensions. A break could put a lot of cable cutters in a difficult position to choose between two very popular services. (I have more tips on this later in the article.)
- There is a good chance that an interruption will be temporary: As Clark mentioned in his podcast, there is just too much at stake for these two companies for this to be a permanent breakup.
- It’s about revenue sharing: Roku negotiates a revenue sharing agreement with every app that appears on its devices. It just happens to be one of the most important negotiations she’s going through, so both sides need to make sure they get it right.
- YouTube TV wants prime-time real estate in Roku’s menus and search bars: It looks like YouTube TV wants placement and data access that reflects its strong market presence. Roku appears to believe this is anti-competitive and is likely concerned that it could harm existing relationships with other major streaming services.
- Google could benefit from the new Chromecast: Remember that YouTube TV is owned by Google. And Google is actually competing with Roku in the device streaming space via Google TV technology. In fact, I recently reviewed the latest Chromecast with Google TV and found it to be a user experience that rivals Roku in many areas. This flaw could be an opportunity to drive more people to its product where it can completely control the environment.
Steps streamers can take in the meantime
While these two digital media giants argue, we can be proactive in anticipating our next steps.
I asked Clark to help him put together a checklist for streamers who may be affected by a YouTube TV disruption on Roku devices.
1. Choose a side: streaming service vs streaming device
No, I don’t necessarily mean that you have to decide who is right and who is wrong in this disagreement (although, of course, you are free to make up your own mind).
What I mean is you have to decide what is most important to you if YouTube TV is no longer offered on Roku streaming devices.
If you have four Roku TVs in your house, the answer is probably you stick with Roku through thick and thin. This means that you will likely buy a new streaming service if a deal cannot be reached.
“Roku has done such a good job becoming native on so many new TVs,” Clark said.
“For some people, it’s not really a choice. What are you going to do? Get an Amazon Fire Stick and put it in your Roku TV or something?
But let’s say you’re a Roku streaming dongle user who has hours of DVR content recorded on YouTube TV and enjoys all the channels you get for $ 65 per month. Switching from a Roku streaming stick to an Amazon Fire TV stick seems like a small price to pay to keep your streaming life intact.
2. Start buying YouTube TV competitors
One of the best things about cutting the traditional cable cord is that you have the freedom to choose when a streaming service does something you don’t like.
Although it is widely regarded as one of the best live TV streaming services on the market, many people have left YouTube TV in recent years due to issues such as price increases and disputes with providers. of television channels.
And most of them have found a streaming setup that works for their homes without YouTube TV.
“YouTube TV is one of the most expensive streaming services out there,” says Clark.
“Use it as a trigger to research cheaper streaming services and see if the channels that really matter to you are available for less. “
Some competitors offer a similar channel menu for a similar price, such as Hulu + Live TV and fuboTV. And Clark mentioned Sling TV and Philo as potential savings.
Plus, YouTube TV lets you suspend your service for up to six months at no cost, so you can shop while maintaining your DVR library and user preferences.
The Clark team has articles that compare YouTube TV directly to each of these services so you can make a firm decision if you need to change:
3. Start shopping for Roku competitors
If you’re using Roku through one of its popular streaming dongles, it may actually be easier for you to switch streaming devices than to switch streaming service.
It is a competitive market that offers quality products from major tech companies including Amazon, Apple, and Google.
The Clark team has a comparison article available for the Roku Express and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick that can help you understand the main differences between the two.
In addition to the Fire TV Stick, here are articles on similarly priced devices that may be worth checking out:
If you are a Roku TV user with the Roku interface built into your TV, a switch would be much more expensive. You may want to consider switching streaming service instead.
4. Weigh the value of existing long-term commitments to streaming services
The advice you get from Clark Howard and the Clark team is almost always to get the best possible price for the things that are important to your life.
This remains true in the present case, but this dispute may serve as a reminder that flexibility sometimes has its own financial value.
Making a long-term deal with a streaming service could leave you vulnerable to corporate feuds like this. And that could end in losing access to your content on the devices you stream with the most.
YouTube TV only requires a monthly payment for its best price, so in that case you’ll be fine no matter what decision you have to make.
But other streaming services offer bundles and discounted rates for longer engagements. For example, Disney + charges $ 79.99 for a full year of access. If you decide to pay monthly (at $ 7.99 / month) instead, you’ll end up paying almost $ 16 more over the course of the year.
The row between Roku and YouTube TV is making headlines, but its impact will vary from streamer to streamer.
If YouTube TV goes off on Roku, some people will simply switch between streaming sources and continue to enjoy the content elsewhere.
Others may need to start buying a new live streaming TV service, whether it’s a big one that is priced on a par with YouTube TV or other bigger services. small, but cheaper.
Either way, Clark says it’s an opportunity to take stock of your streaming habits and explore new opportunities that might help your wallet.
“Don’t just view this as a potential disruption in your life,” says Clark.
“Instead, see it as an opportunity to change what you do. As a result, you may be able to save a lot of money.
More Clark.com content you may like: