Google calls Roku search result manipulation claims 'baseless'

Responding to Roku's bold claims that Google wanted to manipulate the search results on Roku platforms, in a statement with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, a YouTube TV spokesperson said the Google team has been working with Roku "in good faith" to reach an agreement that benefits viewers and Roku's customers. She said:

Unfortunately, Roku often engages in these types of tactics in their negotiations. We’re disappointed that they chose to make baseless claims while we continue our ongoing negotiations.

She added, "All of our work with them has been focused on ensuring a high quality and consistent experience for our viewers. We have made no requests to access user data or interfere with search results. We hope we can resolve this for the sake of our mutual users."

According to YouTube, it has worked with many partners for Youtube TV to be on as many devices as possible. In such instances, deals need to be negotiated to continue offering the application to its members. Google is in negotiations with Roku currently, regarding the placement of the YouTube TV app on its devices, and it is working to reach an equitable agreement that benefits its users. 

Hypothetically, when consumers are searching on Roku, YouTube results would be eligible to show up among other players in Search results. Roku would also show YouTube search results when the YouTube app is playing in the foreground.

Google's response stems from Roku's email sent out yesterday to YouTube TV users stating that Google may take away access to YouTube TV channel on Roku’s platform due to "broken down" negotiations. Roku called Google’s terms “unfair” and potentially harmful to users, adding that it was standing up for users by rejecting “Google's unfair and anticompetitive requirements to manipulate search results, impact the usage of data and ultimately cost consumers more,” the email read.

Roku said that it remains committed to reaching an agreement with Google that preserves users’ access to YouTube TV, protects their data and ensures a level playing field for companies to compete. In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, a spokesperson said Google is attempting to use its YouTube monopoly position to force Roku into accepting predatory, anti-competitive and discriminatory terms. “Given antitrust suits against Google, investigations by competition authorities of anti-competitive behavior and Congressional hearings into Google’s practices, it should come as no surprise that Google is now demanding unfair and anti-competitive terms that harm Roku’s users,” the spokesperson said.

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