In recent years, Roku has had drawn out stalemates with entertainment / internet giants like WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal, and YouTube, as its ambitions shift from simply selling TV streaming hardware to advertising and content. However, the company today announced an extension in its deal with Amazon, ensuring that the Prime Video and IMDb TV apps will maintain a presence on Roku devices without any back-and-forth wrangling, threats, or mudslinging that delayed the rollout of HBO Max and Peacock and caused YouTube TV’s app to disappear for a while.
There’s no indication of a disagreement there or change in data sharing, even as Amazon pumps up its free IMDb TV offering with content from the recently closed $8 billion purchase of MGM and prepares high-profile streaming content on Prime Video, like its new The Lord of the Rings series. Meanwhile, it presumably means Roku’s ad-supported channel will continue to stream on the Fire TV platform, and its boxes will remain in stock on Amazon’s website.
As Roku CEO Anthony Wood explained on an episode of the Vergecast, its business model is to take some of the ad inventory of ad-supported channels (like IMDb TV) that stream on its platform to sell targeted ads. Some publishers have their own plans for targeting, and that causes friction, as suggested in a report by The Information last fall noting the two could have an issue if Amazon wanted access to detailed viewing data it could link to its customers. The Verge