Why Roku Owners Don't Need To Worry About YouTube And YouTube TV Leaving The Service (For Now)

YouTube TV logo
(Image credit: YouTube)

For all the cord-cutting benefits that streaming TV services can account for, there will always be worries to deal with, such as the myriad contractual agreements between studios and streaming services (among other companies). Most recently, the biggest headache for consumers has been the dispute between Roku and Google, which could have potentially ended this week with the YouTube app being completely pulled off of millions of Roku devices. Thankfully, the two parties came to an agreement even before the December 9 deadline, and customers no longer need to worry. At least for now. 

While details have not yet been fully revealed, it has been confirmed that Roku and Google reached a multiyear extension not only for the standalone YouTube app, but also for its offshoot YouTube TV app, according to Variety. That's a huge plus to subscribers of the megalith's streaming television plans, since the YTTV app hasn't been available on Roku devices since April of 2021. 

At that time, Roku's deal for the YouTube TV app expired, and so it was removed from the service altogether, even though customers could still get to the service itself through the mothership YouTube app. While not the most major setback overall, having to deal with apps-inside-apps was 100% an annoyance on a daily basis, so I'm personally pumping my fists that we presumably won't have to worry about this issue again for another 2+ years. 

Roku and YouTube representatives released statements about the newly reached extension agreement, with the Google-owned video streaming giant having more to say with its announcement, as seen below:

We’re happy to share that we’ve reached a deal with Roku to continue distributing the YouTube and YouTube TV apps on Roku devices. This means that Roku customers will continue to have access to YouTube and that the YouTube TV app will once again be available in the Roku store for both new and existing members. We are pleased to have a partnership that benefits our mutual users.

It's possible that Roku execs were slightly less enthused about everything, considering they have long claimed that Google was the problem in the ongoing discussions. Roku claimed that Google was demanding certain digital requirements for its apps, such as searching and voice features, that weren't being asked of other companies, among other anticompetitive requests and terms. 

Given the lack of details about the agreement itself, it's unclear at this time whether or not Google's previous requests will be part of YouTube's apps going forward, or if things will remain as they were. Hopefully customers won't have to worry about upcharges in the meantime. 

Regardless of how things went down behind the scenes, Team Roku must be pumped to finally wash their hands of the Google situation for the time being, so that everyone can celebrate how well things are going with the company's organic streaming content. For instance, the Lionsgate Television-produced movie Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas, a TV movie follow-up to the cancelled NBC musical dramedy,   was the #1 viewed program via The Roku Channel during its premiere weekend. As well, the small-screen effort also earned a Critics Choice Award nomination for Best Movie Made for Television. That success could very well convince someone with deep pockets to bring Zoey's back for another season, or at least another movie.

By all means, securing YouTube and YouTube TV is a great way for Roku to get customers to forget that it's banning Pornhub and other X-rated channels in March 2022. Oops, I guess I just reminded everyone. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.