Published on July 14th, 2018 | by Kirk Hiner1
What does YouTube TV’s World Cup outage compensation mean?
It means there are significant benefits to being a cord cutter.
YouTube TV customers enjoying the World Cup this week experienced a service outage during the match between England and Croatia. That’s obviously not good timing, and Google was quick to communicate with customers via Twitter during and immediately following the outage. That doesn’t make up for the time lost, however, especially considering World Cup coverage is the type of content that will compel people to chose one live streaming service over another.
And so, Google is now offering a free week of the service to those affected. In an email to customers, Google states:
Any recordings of the full game or anything else you where [sic] recording should now be available uninterrupted in the Library tab. If you are still experiencing issues, please let us know via email, phone, live chat, or @TeamYouTube on Twitter.
To help make this right, we’d like to give you a week of free service. You’ll receive another email soon confirming your account has been credited.
They end the email with, “Thanks for sticking with us,” and that pretty much says it all.
Live TV outages are not new. I experienced them a few times with Time Warner Cable back in the day, and more frequently with DirecTV during heavy rainstorms. But did either company ever offer me anything in compensation? Of course not. This is partially because the outages were isolated and/or regional, affecting a relatively small, pocketed number of subscribers.
The main reason, though, is because there was nothing we could do about it other than complain. Quitting a cable or satellite service is a major hassle involving phone calls, hardware returns, cancellation penalties and more. Plus, the options for a replacement were few and could require digging up your yard to run lines or mounting satellites to your roof or walls.
In other words, you were trapped, and the cable providers knew it. That’s no longer the case. If YouTube TV customers aren’t happy about the World Cup outage, canceling the subscriptions is quick and easy, and setting up an account with a competing service is even quicker and easier. You can be subscribed to a new service and watching content through them within 10 to 15 minutes, often free of charge when you’re just starting. I wouldn’t be surprised if die-hard soccer fans did that very thing during the YouTube TV outage.
This amount of control provided to the consumer is something new to the TV industry, and it’s been interesting to see how service providers have been reacting. The free week of service offered by Google isn’t much, but it’s certainly something. I’ve been a DirecTV Now subscriber since December, and I’ve yet to receive even an acknowledgment from AT&T for their spotty service. I recently canceled DirecTV satellite to go fully streaming, and DirecTV Now—run by a company still permeated by that old-school, major-cable-empire mindset—will likely be the next to go.
That’s not to say any other streaming service will be significantly better right now, but at least now I have the power to find that out for myself.