Roku and Fox have reached an agreement to keep Fox apps on Roku devices, meaning Super Bowl Sunday will continue as planned for customers. After roughly 24 hours of startling emails to users and public shit-talking, the two companies — presumably staffed by adults equipped to work in their chosen profession — decided to... not change anything. Both companies released cheery statements saying the carriage dispute between two had ended (though offered no details as to why it began in the first place or what kind of deal was reached).
A mess of a system — The back and forth between Fox and Roku perfectly demonstrates the current tension in the world of streaming. As networks and standalone channels try to forge partnerships with whoever may provide the most lucrative lock-in or customer base, users find themselves increasingly at the mercy of a confusing, disorganized, and hostile system. “Roku’s tactics are a poorly timed negotiating ploy, fabricating a crisis with no thought for the alarm it generated among its own customers,” Fox said in a statement.
Bullies with boxes — Roku does seem to have a history of strong-arming its partners. According to a Bloomberg report, the box-maker (whch controls the largest streaming platform in the world) tends to make short-term deals and renegotiate often.
Roku also signs short-term deals with streaming networks, enabling it to renegotiate (read: ask for more money) quickly. Just months after signing a new contract, Roku executives will threaten to cancel a channel if its owner doesn’t give Roku a larger cut of ad sales, say several people familiar with negotiations who asked to remain anonymous to avoid upsetting their relationships with the company.
Regardless, for now the noise has quieted and customers can enjoy the big game and whatever else it is Fox has to offer. We eagerly await the next bit of theater from both companies.