Roku’s recent announcement that all standalone Fox channels will no longer be available on its streaming devices may complicate how Roku owners watch the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Roku said in a statement that the decision is due to a carriage dispute between the company and Fox, which is broadcasting the game. Roku’s distribution agreement with Fox is set to expire on Friday, Jan. 31. If an agreement is not reached, the company will have to remove Fox channels from the Roku platform as it will no longer have the legal right to distribute their content.
Fox denies that the issue is because of a carriage dispute, however.
“Roku’s threat to delete Fox apps from its customers’ devices is a naked effort to use its customers as pawns,” Fox said in a statement. “To be clear, Fox has not asked Roku to remove our apps, and we would prefer Roku continue to make them available without interruption. Roku’s tactics are a poorly timed negotiating ploy, fabricating a crisis with no thought for the alarm it generated among its own customers.”
Roku customers should know that Super Bowl LIV will still be available through streaming providers, Fox apps on streaming platforms and Fox’s website, the media company noted.
Several Fox News personalities commented on the dispute, with Laura Ingraham, Tomi Lahren, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro and Tammy Bruce all tweeting that customers should tell Roku “hands off our devices.”
Roku had 30.5 million active users as of the second quarter of 2019, the company said — and that number could grow to 72 million users by 2022, according to investment banking group Macquarie.
In Roku’s statement, the company said customers can still view Fox programming, including the Super Bowl, through Fubo, Sling TV, Hulu Live and YouTube TV.