Roku removes YouTube TV from channel store as dispute with Google escalates

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Roku has pulled YouTube TV from its channel store. The distribution agreement between Roku and Google for YouTube TV has expired and the two sides haven’t been able to reach a new deal. However, Roku says it is “taking the extra step to continue to offer existing subscribers access to YouTube TV on the Roku platform unless Google takes actions that require the full removal of the channel.” New subscriptions from the YouTube TV app have also been switched off “until an agreement is reached.” In an email to customers, Roku warned “it is also important that you do not delete the YouTube TV app as it will not be available for download to Roku devices.” The regular YouTube app is unaffected by this situation and remains freely available on Roku devices. Roku has accused Google of seeking unfair terms that would adversely affect streaming competitors and benefit the YouTube suite of apps. Google has also asked for deeper access to Roku customer data than other services, Roku claims, and is pushing Roku to adopt new hardware requirements; presumably the company is aiming to get AV1 supported in the future.

Google is all set to launch a crack down on scam Play Store app listings

Google has announced new Play Store policies and guidelines designed to make app listings more succinct, accurate, and less of an eyesore. New guidelines affecting the screenshots and videos meant to demonstrate an app’s features and functionality will come into force in the second half of 2021, while specific details about the enforcement of new policies for app titles, icons, and descriptions are coming later this year. The new app metadata policies will ban a variety of tricks that app developers use to make their app listings excessively eye-catching. Writing words in all-caps will no longer be allowed unless it’s the name of a brand, and neither will include emoji in app names. App titles will be limited to 30 characters, and they can’t “incentivise installs” by including a phrase like “download now.” Google says that apps that violate the policies will not be allowed on Google Play. Separately, the new guidelines about app preview assets will come into effect in the second half of the year.

Facebook will reportedly spend $5 million paying local reporters to join its news platform

Facebook says it will spend $5 million paying local journalists on a new publishing platform. Reuters reported the news, saying independent journalists could begin applying for the program. The company is prioritising reporters in areas without an existing news source. Facebook announced its news platform last month. The platform includes a self-publishing tool that lets reporters launch newsletters and charge for subscriptions, as well as integration with existing features like Facebook pages and groups. Facebook will strike multiyear deals with selected journalists, who can earn more money through subscriptions. It is also competing with other self-publishing platforms – particularly newsletter provider Substack. Substack launched a $1 million initiative called Substack Local in mid-April, saying it would select up to 30 local news reporters to receive one-year advances of up to $100,000. Facebook announced a $5 million investment in local news last year. It’s also paid national news outlets to publish content on its social network. With this effort, it’s building something closer to an in-house news platform, rather than working with big outlets that have an often ambivalent relationship to the company.