Roku and Comcast have been in talks to get its new streaming service, Peacock onto the service. And now, after failing to come to an agreement, NBCUniversal and its parent company, Comcast, are removing NBC apps from Roku’s platform.
Roku is slamming this decision by Comcast, of course. As it makes it look like Comcast is trying to strong-arm Roku into an agreement that would be unfair to Roku.
Which NBC apps are being removed?
All of the TV Everywhere apps are being removed from Roku. These include those for Bravo, E!, Syfy, USA and NBC. Among many others. These are not really streaming apps, but more of a way to watch content from these networks, without using the TV that your cable box is connected to. You still need to subscribe to cable to get these channels and these apps.
Customers can still get them from other places though, like Hulu. As Hulu has quite a bit of NBCUniversal’s content in its library. But you can also choose to use something like Sling TV or FuboTV to get these services too.
These apps are not super popular on Roku
Roku executives stated that these channels “represent an insignificant amount of streaming hours and revenue on our platform”. Which is likely accurate, as it’s really only good for on-demand content, since you do still need to subscribe to a cable provider to get access to these apps.
But they also noted that they had offered to extend the existing agreement between Roku and Comcast for these channels. So that they would “remain accessible while we continue to work towards a Peacock agreement.” And with everyone stuck at home, and the US election season heating up, these apps are even more important than ever.
It’s unclear if Comcast and Roku will ever come to an agreement on Peacock, but it surely looks like Comcast is trying to use these TV Everywhere channels as a way to get Roku to come to their side. The reason why a deal needs to be cut for Peacock to work on Roku, is simply because Roku wants to make sure that Peacock works in their integrated search and with other features on its platform. Of course, Roku also wants a cut. Similar to how Google and Apple get a cut of app revenue on Android and iOS.
But where Roku is the biggest streaming TV platform on the market, you can rest assured that Peacock will be available at some point. The only question is when.