NBCU’s distribution deal with Roku expired last week. Roku offered to extend the existing deal for TV Everywhere channels while the two companies negotiated an agreement to distribute Peacock. Comcast reportedly declined the offer, and it may force Roku to remove the TV Everywhere channels by this weekend.
If NBCU does force Roku to pull those channels, viewers will lose content from Bravo, E!, Syfy, USA and NBC. Though, Roku points out that viewers can still access NBCU channels through services like Comcast Xfinity, Charter and AT&T TV apps, as well as some internet streaming services.
“Comcast is removing the channels in order to try to force Roku to distribute its new Peacock service on unreasonable terms. While the NBC TV Everywhere apps represent an insignificant amount of streaming hours and revenue on our platform, we believe they are important to those consumers who use them, especially when so many Americans are at home,” a Roku spokesperson said in a statement shared by Variety.”
Update 9/18/2020 10:45AM ET: The two sides appear to be locked in a stalemate. In a statement provided to Engadget, an NBCUniversal spokesperson said:
“We are disappointed Roku is removing its users’ FREE access to NBCUniversal programming – 11 network apps, 12 NBC Owned Station apps, 23 Telemundo Owned Station apps – and continues to block access to the only free premium streaming service available in the market, Peacock. Roku’s unreasonable demands ultimately hurt both their consumers and their consumer equipment partners to whom they’ve promised access to all apps in the marketplace.”
Comcast may force Roku to drop some NBCUniversal channels – Engadget