02/10/2020

Late Friday, Roku and Fox announced that they’ve reached a new agreement that will ensure the Fox apps keep on working without pause — and they’ll be restored to the Roku app store this weekend ahead of the game, Roku tells The Verge.

The dispute is over, but we dont know who caved
For a moment, it looked Roku owners would be losing the highest-quality way to stream the Super Bowl for free, when the set-top box maker announced Thursday that it would abruptly pull Foxs apps off the platform a day ahead of the game. But that wont actually be happening.
Late Friday, Roku and Fox announced that theyve reached a new agreement that will ensure the Fox apps keep on working without pause and theyll be restored to the Roku app store this weekend ahead of the game, Roku tells The Verge.
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. FOXs leading suite of apps will continue to be available on the Roku platform, reads a parallel statement from Fox.
Remember when we reported Thursday how the Roku icon had disappeared from Foxs Super Bowl landing page? Its back again, too as if nothing ever happened.
Above: What it looked like on Wednesday and Friday. Below: What it looked like on Thursday.
Screenshots by Sean Hollister / The Verge
As weve reported, the entire standoff was a heated carriage dispute playing out in the public realm, with each side hoping its customers would get angry enough at the other party to convince them to stand down. While Roku tried to convince customers to watch the game through other apps (like NFL, Fubo TV, Sling TV, and Xfinity), Fox poured on even more pressure on Friday by getting Fox News hosts like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham to rile up their audiences directly. Weve definitely seen tweets from angry owners threatening to ditch their Roku.
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Its not clear who started the fight, or who gave in at the end. While each side blamed the other for pulling the channels down to begin with, neither Roku nor Fox would share any proof of that with The Verge. Nor are they sharing details of the new agreement now, though were hoping maybe some of those details eventually float our way.
But the situation did seem suspiciously similar to a tactic mentioned in a Bloomberg report this past December about how Roku executives will threaten to cancel a channel if its owner doesnt give Roku a larger cut of ad sales, and were quite curious if Roku got its way. Roku holds a lot of power as the most popular streaming platform in the US, but then again so does Fox as the exclusive presenter of Super Bowl LIV.
Either way, weve now seen that over-the-top streaming platforms like Roku may be no better than a cable box in one key way: they can still hold subscribers hostage if theres extra money to be made.
Rokus true identity as a cable box that works over the internet revealed and not just an open platform for streaming apps coming through at the worst possible time: https://t.co/Ysb6w9O439
nilay patel (@reckless) January 31, 2020