Fox and Roku reach streaming agreement before Super Bowl Sunday

·4 min read

Update: Fox and Roku announced that the companies reached a resolution.

"We are pleased to have reached a successful agreement with Roku. Fox’s leading suite of apps will continue to be available on the Roku platform," a Fox Corporation spokesperson told Yahoo Entertainment.

A Roku rep added, "Roku customers can stream the Super Bowl through Fox Now, Fox Sports and NFL in addition to other ways."

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Fox News stars are speaking out against Roku after the streaming service announced it’s pulling the plug on Fox apps. Fox Now, Fox Sports, Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Soccer, Big Ten Network and Fox Nation will disappear from Roku TV as its distribution agreement with Fox ends Friday.

Laura Ingraham tweeted she recently got Roku in two rooms at her house and said the news "stinks."

Tomi Lahren, Sean Hannity and Jeanine Pirro also voiced their frustration on Twitter. "Tell Roku hands off your device," they all wrote.

Customers were only alerted Thursday via email that "all standalone Fox channels will no longer be available on Roku streaming devices" — just three days ahead of the Super Bowl. The move is over a distribution agreement dispute between Roku and Fox and each side is placing blame on the other.

In a statement to Yahoo Entertainment, a Fox Corporation spokesperson condemned Roku's "poorly timed negotiating ploy" and claimed the company is using "intimidation tactics."

"Roku’s threat to delete Fox apps from its customers' devices is a naked effort to use its customers as pawns. To be clear, Fox has not asked Roku to remove our apps, and we would prefer Roku continue to make them available without interruption," the statement reads. "Roku's tactics are a poorly timed negotiating ploy, fabricating a crisis with no thought for the alarm it generated among its own customers."

A spokesperson continued, "Even if Roku unilaterally decides to remove Fox apps, savvy Roku customers know Super Bowl LIV on Fox will be ubiquitously available through streaming providers, Fox apps on the biggest streaming platforms and our website. Only Roku can pull apps from its customers' devices, and we would urge them to stop the intimidation tactics and reconsider the merits of irritating their best customers in pursuit of Roku's own interests."

Roku claims the company "offered Fox an extension so that Roku can continue to bring a large and valuable audience to Fox but Fox declined." Roku notes it "tried for months" to come to an agreement.

"If an agreement is not reached, we will be forced to remove Fox channels from the Roku platform. We will no longer have the legal right to distribute their content," the company says in a statement to Yahoo. "Meanwhile customers can view Fox programming including the big game in many other ways on the Roku platform including through FuboTV, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV. Many offer free trials for new customers. In addition Roku TV customers can use an antenna to watch Fox channels. Our discussions with Fox continue and we hope that Fox will agree to an agreement soon."

Roku announced Friday the game will stream for free on the NFL app on Roku devices (unless Fox blocks it). Most subscribers really don't care about which party is to blame — people just want to watch the Super Bowl.

[Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Jan. 31, 2020 at 3:31 p.m. ET and has been updated to reflect Roku and Fox’s agreement.]

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