After months of nasty contract disputes, Roku this morning announced it’s come to an agreement with Google which will allow it to continue to carry both YouTube and YouTube TV on its platform. Roku declined to share the specifics of the deal terms, beyond saying it’s a multi-year extension that covers both services.
For Roku and Google customers, however, that means they don’t know which party won the battle or what that means for Google’s access to Roku’s user data. During the spat, Roku brought to public attention how Google was allegedly demanding elevated access to customer data which Roku had then described as “outside the realm” of industry-standard practices. It said Google wanted more user data than Roku offered its other customers.
Roku also said that Google had threatened to retaliate by increasing the hardware spec requirements for YouTube TV if it didn’t get its way. That would have meant Roku’s low-end players would no longer have access to the service.
These are hefty complaints. And in the case of the user data-sharing agreements, it seems customers should have the right to know where the decision ended up.
It may be easier to spot which side won when it comes to Roku’s other allegations, however. Roku had said Google wanted preferential treatment of YouTube content in Roku search results and had wanted to override Roku customers’ default settings when the YouTube app was open. For example, if a Roku customer had YouTube open and…