Roku Avoided A Super Bowl Blackout By Striking A Deal With Fox


There are a lot of ways to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, and now we know that Roku is still on the table when it comes to streaming The Big Game. Despite some concerns that the streaming tech provider and Fox may not resolve their contract differences before Sunday’s game, reports surfaced Friday that Roku and Fox have reached an agreement, and Super Bowl 54 will be available for its customers.

The Hollywood Reporter indicated on Friday that the two sides had reached a deal, ending concerns that Roku users would have to find alternate ways to watch the Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. This news came after an abrupt message from Roku to its customers via an email that said they would be unable to watch Super Bowl 54 using Roku.

A deal between the companies was expiring, and new terms had not yet been reached. Corporate volleying followed, with Fox accusing Roku of “fabricating a crisis” and using “its customers as pawns,” and Roku arguing that with the deal ending, they “no longer have the legal right to distribute [Fox] content.” Fox even drafted its on-air talent into the fight. “Tell Roku hands off your device, and to put you ahead of their business interests,” Sean Hannity tweeted Friday.

But late on Friday, Roku released a statement saying it had come to an agreement with Fox to resolve the dispute.

The deal is welcome news to anyone who was surprised to see their chances of watching the game was in jeopardy, regardless of how the crisis came about. And Roku certainly seems happy they were able to reach an agreement with Fox.

As THR pointed out, this is the first major conflict between a streaming giant like Roku and a network, especially magnified by potentially losing access to one of the most-watched television events of the year worldwide. And given Roku’s massive streaming audience, losing them would also be a big blow to Fox viewership.

According to new data from the online video analytics firm Conviva, Roku now accounts for 23 percent of all time spent streaming, including a 43 percent share of connected TV viewing time. Amazon’s Fire TV was second with an 18 percent share.

Thankfully, no one will lose access to The Big Game, but it is certainly something bound to happen with other networks and streaming providers as time goes on. The market is only getting more important, and the ground rules are still being formulated by both sides in real time.

[via The Hollywood Reporter]


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