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Roku and NBCUniversal Reach 11th-Hour Distribution Agreement

By Rich Duprey – Updated Sep 21, 2020 at 9:39AM

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The impasse threatened to see dozens of NBC apps pulled from the streaming platform.

Roku (ROKU 4.87%) and the NBCUniversal division of Comcast (CMCSA 1.36%) reached a last-minute agreement last week that will allow the network's Peacock streaming service to appear on the platform along with dozens of other NBC apps. The terms of the deal were not made public.

One of the big issues was the advertising-revenue cut Roku demands from apps appearing on its platform. It typically controls about 30% of the ad inventory that's served on the channel through an app. 

Peacock streaming programming on various devices

Image source: Peacock TV.

NBCUniversal objected to the conditions for hosting the Peacock service and threatened to pull all 46 broadcast and cable apps hosted on Roku if its demands weren't met.

Stating that 15 million viewers signed up for Peacock since its debut in July, NBC said, "We are pleased Roku recognizes the value in making NBCUniversal's incredible family of apps and programming, including Peacock, available to all of their users across the country."

Roku, though, is an important channel to reach potential viewers, with its 43 million active monthly users, and it will be getting some cut of the action since it stated the two sides reached a deal that saw "a meaningful partnership around advertising."

Another platform that Peacock has not found a home on yet is Amazon's FireTV. Both Roku and Amazon also don't host HBO Max from AT&T (T 1.04%). An HBO executive told the website The Verge in June: "Disney+ and Netflix and Hulu and these other apps are on those platforms. There's a certain business model that exists. We just want the same one."

Roku users can expect Peacock and the other NBC apps to begin appearing on the platform in the coming weeks.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Roku. The Motley Fool recommends Comcast and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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