Effective January 1, 2020, AT&T announced that it was pulling support for its dwindling AT&T Now service (formerly DirecTV Now) on Roku devices and Roku TVs, citing that the contract between AT&T and Roku has since expired. This does not affect those customers who have already installed the AT&T Now app on their Roku device or TV and AT&T is urging those customers to not delete the app, as they will not be able to re-install it until the contract has been renegotiated. This was first reported yesterday by Cord Cutters News and later this morning by Next TV.
This all seems a bit odd and hints at AT&T shooting themselves in the foot for removing access on one of the most popular streaming devices to a service that has been bleeding customers for several months. This comes as a shock for many cord cutters to see a subscription service disappear from a streaming device. It also seems odd that such a contract would exist between AT&T and Roku – if you have ever had an issue with an app on Roku and contacted Roku support, the first thing the agent will tell you is that Roku has no control over how an app (or as Roku likes to call them, channels) performs and that you should contact the provider. However, Roku has been trying to re-invent their business model, hoping to now monetize any subscriptions or purchases a Roku owner makes on their devices, rather than rely almost solely on device sales, licence fees on Roku TVs, and advertising (either banner ads or advertisements during programming on their Roku Channel app), so it is certainly possible that Roku was receiving a small commission for customers who signed up or simply from the DirecTV NOW quick select button found on select Roku device remotes.