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Roku Loses The Super Bowl Before The Game Even Starts

Shares of Roku Inc (NASDAQ: ROKU) fell more than 6% on Friday after the company began notifying customers that several Fox Corp (NASDAQ: FOXA) channels won't be available on its app just a couple days before the Sup

Benzinga · 01/31/2020 18:08

Shares of Roku Inc (NASDAQ: ROKU) fell more than 6% on Friday after the company began notifying customers that several Fox Corp (NASDAQ: FOXA) channels won't be available on its app just a couple days before the Super Bowl airs on Fox.

Roku said in an email to customers that all of the standalone Fox channels would no longer be available on Roku apps starting Friday. The move is part of a carriage dispute between the two companies as the distribution agreement that has put Fox channels on Roku apps for years approaches expiration with no agreement yet reached on an extension.

Roku noted in its email that customers who subscribe to certain streaming services, including Sling TV, Hulu or YouTube TV, could still watch Sunday's Super Bowl on one of those services.

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Companies Respond

A Roku spokesperson told Mashable that Fox had rejected an extension offer.

"We offered FOX an extension so that Roku can continue to bring a large and valuable audience to FOX but FOX declined," the spokespserson said. "If an agreement is not reached, we will be forced to remove FOX channels from the Roku platform. We will no longer have the legal right to distribute their content."

But Fox called Roku's threat "a naked effort to use its customers as pawns," in a statement released to media outlets.

"To be clear, FOX has not asked Roku to remove our apps, and we would prefer Roku continue to make them available without interruption," Fox said. "Roku’s tactics are a poorly timed negotiating ploy, fabricating a crisis with no thought for the alarm it generated among its own customers.

"Even if Roku unilaterally decides to remove FOX apps, savvy Roku customers know Super Bowl LIV on FOX will be ubiquitously available through streaming providers, FOX apps on the biggest streaming platforms and our website," Fox said.

Roku Shares Down

Roku shares were down 7.2% at publication time to $121.21.