Update 01/31: Roku and Fox have agreed a new deal.
Standalone Fox channels won’t be available on Roku devices after tomorrow, January 31. This is the result of the end of a distribution agreement between the two companies.
Emails have already started going out to Roku device owners confirming the removal of Fox channels and the date. Likewise, Roku has recently put out a statement on social media confirming this is happening due to the end of a distribution agreement between Fox and Roku.
Here’s a copy of the email.
At a minimum, it is likely this affects the Fox and Fox Sports Roku channels, although the issue could even stretch to include additional channels.
As to be expected, users have already taken to various forums including reddit to vent their disbelief at not only the loss of the channels but the minimum notice given to make other arrangements. Especially considering the Super Bowl is taking place this Sunday and is due to be shown on Fox. Providing the blackout does occur as expected, it would seem likely Roku users will need to access Fox via a different device.
To be clear, and as the email above points out, this is in relation to the standalone channel apps. Anyone who has access to any Fox channels via a live TV streaming service, such as Hulu + Live TV or Sling TV will still be able to access the same Fox channels. The issue only relates to the access provided by the standalone channels (apps).
Either way, considering Roku’s place in the market, this is likely to affect a number of users and those without access to a live TV streaming service will need to turn to another device for Fox access.
Fox joining AT&T in leaving Roku?
At the start of January, AT&T also removed access to its AT&T TV channel on Roku devices. That too came at short notice and as the AT&T TV Roku channel is the primary access point for both AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW, it affected subscribers to both services equally.
The AT&T TV app has yet to return to the Roku platform and it remains unclear if it will anytime soon. It could be the case the Fox channels are destined for a similar fate. Although unlike AT&T TV and AT&T TV NOW subscribers, at least some Fox subscribers will be able to continue using their Roku device, albeit through a live TV streaming app.
Update #1: List of affected Fox channels
A Roku forums community manager has now confirmed the standalone Fox apps that are being removed from Roku devices are as follows:
- FOX Sports
- Fox News Channel
- Fox Nation
- FOX NOW
- Fox Business Network
- FOX Soccer Match Pass
The forum post also states users who have subscribed to Fox Nation through Roku will receive a prorated refund. While adding, Roku remain in discussions with FOX and hope to reach an agreement soon.
Update #2: Statement from Fox
Fox is notifying users affected by the Roku channels removal to explain, and blame, Roku for the situation. Fox states the decision to remove the channels is Roku’s decision alone.
Here’s Fox’s statement in full:
“Earlier today Roku notified their users they intend to remove FOX apps, including FOX Sports, FOX NOW, FOX News, and FOX Nation. We’re as surprised – and disappointed – as you! Only Roku can remove our apps from your device, and we’ve not asked them to do that. Be assured, if there’s a disruption, it will be Roku’s decision alone. While we work to continue our relationship with Roku, we are happy to keep our apps available to you, and we regret Roku has chosen to threaten your access solely to improve its own business interests.”
Update #3 (1/31): Statement from Roku
Roku has now released a new statement on its blog simply titled “FOX.” The statement provides a fuller explanation of what’s happening from Roku’s perspective, stating Fox refuses to sign an agreement.
Although time is running out, Roku says it is continuing to negotiate with Fox and that it hopes to reach an agreement soon.
Here’s Roku’s statement in full:
“Roku’s distribution agreement with FOX Corp to distribute FOX channels is set to expire on Jan. 31. We don’t want to see that happen but we have tried for months to get FOX to sign an agreement and we offered FOX an extension but they declined.
If an agreement is not reached, we will be forced to remove FOX channels from the Roku platform because we can’t distribute content without an agreement. Every content provider has a distribution agreement on every platform. It gives the legal right to distribute.
Meanwhile customers can view FOX programming including the big game in many other ways on the Roku platform including through fuboTV, Sling TV, Hulu + LiveTV, and YouTube TV. Many offer free trials for new customers. Also other channels offer similar content such as Bloomberg, CNBC, ESPN and more.
Our discussions with FOX continue and we hope that FOX will agree to an agreement soon.”
Update #4: Latest email from Roku
Roku has once again started emailing affected users with an update on the situation. The email appears to confirm that a deal is unlikely to be made before the clock runs out.
In addition, the email explains some of the other ways users can stream the Super Bowl on Sunday, including for free through the NFL channel on Roku. Although it should be pointed out that this channel won’t be playing the game in 4K.
Here’s the latest Roku email in full:
“On Sunday, you can stream the Super Bowl on Roku devices through FuboTV Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV. Many offer free trials for new customers. We’ll also be running a Big Game Guide that makes things easy for you. If you are a Comcast or Spectrum TV cable user, the Game will be available on the Xfinity & Spectrum TV apps on Roku. Roku TV owners with an antenna can tune into broadcast TV.
The game will stream free on the NFL app on Roku unless FOX blocks your ability to stream it.
We don’t like FOX’s tactics and wish they had agreed to extend. But our agreement expires today. We are both disappointed and sad to see the FOX channels come down and will try to restore them.
We want your TV experience to be as simple as possible. There are many ways to stream the Super Bowl on Roku devices this weekend. We hope you enjoy the game.”