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Roku removes RT, for what that’s worth

Roku removed the Russia Today channel — also known as RT America — from its platform in the early evening of March 1. That followed the same move by DirecTV earlier in the day. RT is a state-run media service, and RT America is its U.S.-based arm.

Meanwhile, the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.

The RT America channel on Roku.

Before it was removed from the Roku Channel Store, the RT America channel had garnered more than 4,100 ratings and sported 3.9 stars out of 5. By comparison, the Peacock listing has 97,221 ratings and a 3.5-star score. Netflix — the world’s largest streaming service — has 4.2 million ratings and a 3.8-star score.

It’s unclear just how many people may have watched RT America on Roku, though the platform is the No. 1 streaming service in the United States.

RT America, for its part, was transparent in its Channel Store (what Roku calls apps, essentially) listing. The opening line of the description said it was a “Russia state-affiliated channel.” It followed with: “This channel’s content is provided by a foreign agent affiliated with the Russian government, which has registered with the United States under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). FARA is intended to identify foreign political influence in the United States.”

The Roku Channel Store for RT listing said that RT boasts 70 million weekly viewers in 38 countries, with 8 million viewers in the United States. (Roku would like us to remind you that those numbers aren’t from Roku.)

RT America remained available on Sling TV as of the afternoon of March 2. The company has yet to respond to our inquiry whether it intends to keep RT America as one of its add-on options. And the RT America YouTube channel also remains available, with its 1.22 million subscribers.

Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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