Back in December, YouTube decided that it wasn’t happy with T-Mobile’s Binge On video service and raised some important questions, partly because T-Mobile was being ultra sneaky about how it worked, but also because T-Mobile was throttling their streams even though they weren’t participating. T-Mobile’s CEO John Legere threw a couple of big, embarrassing fits about YouTube’s concerns, because apparently, no one is allowed to question pink Batman. Legere just couldn’t see how anyone could be offended by what his company was doing with Binge On, assuming that those with concerns all had some sort of agenda.
As it turns out, YouTube (and the rest of us who had issues with Binge On) really just wanted the program to be more transparent and not do sneaky things, like throttle the companies who were not choosing to participate or make it difficult for people to opt-out. Funny how that’s a bad thing, especially to the CEO of a company who has spent the past few years calling out his competitors for not being open and upfront about policies or sales programs.
Today, after some obvious back-room negotiations took place between T-Mobile and YouTube, the two companies have co-announced that YouTube (and Google Play Movies & TV) will join Binge On, thanks to some new changes.
T-Mobile made the announcement through their newsroom, but Google decided to skip announcing the move through their YouTube blog and instead went through their much-more-serious Public Policy blog. T-Mobile’s announcement is all “Rah! Rah! Rah! We added more services to Binge On because it’s a runaway success!” while Google’s focuses on the fact that they weren’t about to join the free video streaming service unless some major changes were made.
Because of the questions raised and the stink the media made about the whole situation, T-Mobile has continued to “improve the program,” according to Google. Those improvements include clarifying to users what “optimization” of video means, making it easier than ever to turn off the service, and “improving information and choice for video services.”
The changes to video providers include the option to opt-out if they do not want to be throttled by T-Mobile. T-Mobile will also now work with video services “to optimize their own streams,” if they feel that is the better option while participating. That could mean pushing through better video quality, instead of the DVD-level video that Binge On defaulted all video to.
These are pretty big changes that potentially never would have happened without YouTube questioning it almost four months ago.
In T-Mobile’s announcement, the carrier announced that along with YouTube, Baeble Music, Discovery GO, ESNE TV, FilmOn.TV, Fox Business, Google Play Movies, KlowdTV, and Red Bull TV have joined the list of Binge On supported video services.