Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Roku alleges Google is using its monopoly power in YouTube TV carriage negotiations – TechCrunch

Roku is alerting its customers that they may lose access to the YouTube TV channel on its platform after negotiations with Google went south. The company alleges that Google is attempting to use its monopoly power to insist on unfair, anti-competitive terms about how Roku handles search results for YouTube content, customer data, and more. The email also urges Roku customers to reach out to Google to voice their concerns.

Details of the spat were first reported by Axios.

Roku says Google continues to ask for special treatment on Roku’s streaming media player platform, which today includes a dedicated search results row for YouTube that appears after a customer performs a universal voice search. Roku claims YouTube over a year ago threatened to remove the YouTube app if Roku didn’t comply with this particular demand.

It now wants to ask Google to not preference its own service in the search results, as it believes this row doesn’t serve its customer base well. The row returns YouTube results at the top of the search results page, even when this isn’t relevant to what the customer was searching for in the first place, Roku explains. In addition, Google is adding on to its earlier demands with a new series of requests to only show YouTube or YouTube Music search results when the YouTube app is open — even overriding Roku user preferences.

Today, Roku allows its customers to set their own preferred music service provider for their music requests. Google’s ask is that if a user presses the Roku voice search button while YouTube is open, that query returns only YouTube results. That means YouTube Music would play any music request, and YouTube search results would appear for any other request.

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