NBCU battle with Roku ends with Peacock being added

Media giant NBCUniversal has reached a deal with Roku after months of uncertainty.

The agreement came shortly before when NBC had threatened to black out its apps on Roku powered streaming devices.

In addition to ensuring that apps from across the NBCU family would remain on Roku, the deal also added the company’s new streaming service, Peacock, to the mix.

Peacock launched in July 2020 and is notable for having a free tier that lets users watch limited selections with ads.

Peacock was a big sticking point in negotiations — Roku was reportedly demanding it be cut in on ad inventory shown via the service. Exact terms of the final deal were not released.

NBC, meanwhile, was holding out for Peacock to be included because of Roku’s reach on both its own standalone boxes as well as TVs and other devices that come with its service built in — what it likely saw as a key way for its streamer to get more views to see its ads and, possibly, switch to a paid tier.

The negotiations were a sort of “upgraded” version of the infamous cable and satellite retransmission disputes that often see cable networks and local TV stations pulled from channel lineups because, inevitably, the content generator wants more many to carry its feed than the traditional TV provider is willing to pay.

These disputes can result in “blackouts” or threatened ones — sometimes right before key TV events — with the two sides typically working out a deal shortly after and restoring service to viewers.

NBCU owns, among other networks, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, E!, Bravo, USA Network and more.