Will Roku Really Lose YouTube Why Its Not Likely

Roku users have been peppered with news that they will lose YouTube this week. That reporting has been terribly problematic and lacking in specifics. For the record, there is a rift between YouTube and Roku that involves how Roku shares data with YouTube as well as (according to Roku) a disagreement as to how YouTube results should display in Roku’s search function. The disagreement appears to have little to do with fees between the two parties, but rest assured, access to data may as well be a license to print it.

If things do in fact come to a head, on December 9th, it has been reported that Roku users will no longer be able to add YouTube from its Streaming Channels. This would prevent anybody who does not already have the YouTube app from downloading it to their account. This action though is not reportedly going to pull a previously installed YouTube channel from an individual’s Roku device. Whether this is in fact the case will be obvious by the end of the week.

So is this scenario likely? We don’t think so. Sure we might be wrong but the idea that YouTube would really prevent Roku users from adding its app just feels like a place that neither company really wants to get to. For one, Roku-powered TVs are the most common smart TVs in the country. Roku powers smart TVs for 12 brands in the US and has an international presence as well in Europe and recently Mexico. That is a lot of potential customers who will not be able to access YouTube if the app is pulled from Roku.

Could Roku lose access to YouTube for a period? It’s possible. The move would not be without precedent. YouTube and Amazon had a disagreement a few years ago that led to YouTube being unavailable in the Amazon app store. It was resolved. Before the agreement went into place with Amazon the company built in a workaround by launching two browsers that allowed users to use YouTube in the absence of an app. Either way, the YouTube Amazon fight appears to be history. At the time of the dustup, Amazon was not as large a piece of the pie, (over 40 percent) as it is today.

Something we have been watching is that since October 21st, there have been next to no new reports about the situation. No announcements from either company which usually accompany disputes. This leads us to believe that the two organizations are quietly working out the details. Either that or both Roku and YouTube would rather sow confusion in the middle of December just ahead of Christmas and CES. We are taking the latter approach that if the most popular streaming app in the country was imminently going to be dropped from the most popular streaming platform in the country both sides would be a lot louder about it right now.

The Streaming Advisor has been wrong before and we may be wrong this time. But we advise that everybody out there relax. If you have YouTube already you should be good to go, If you do not then for goodness sakes download it. We are either going to have a really wild Friday or it will just be another day at the office.