As a racing fan I have grown accustomed to hunting and gathering racing content where I can find it. The industry is fragmented as we all know and the idea of one stop shopping for the racing ran is a foreign concept for content providers. So the new battle between TrackNet and Youbet about content distribution is just another example of how these content providers almost purposely alienate racing fans. The loser here appears to be Youbet and their customers of which I am one. The Philadelphia market is a good example how a racing fan must be a hunter gatherer. I could get HRTV and TVG if I subscribed to a satellite provider but my cable provider carries my main content provider, Philadelphia Park Phonebet TV on basic cable service. I supplement their missing content by subscribing to Youbet. So for me paying for satellite doesn’t make much sense.
Due to some longstanding squabble, Phonebet TV does not offer the NYRA signal so if I want to see a race at Aqueduct I had to view it on Youbet and bet on it via Phonebet. OK I can deal with that and I have endured this arrangement for years. I don’t like watching races on a PC but as a race fan you do what you have to do.
About two weeks ago I noticed I could not view the live video from Aqueduct on Youbet, at first I assumed I had an issue with my media player and downloaded the latest version, that did not solve the problem. So I got on the phone with Youbet's customer service was told that signals from most of their big tracks like Aqueduct and Keeneland were being stolen by wireless pirates who were redirecting the signal to their own advantage. To stop this piracy certain tracks had put some kind of block on their signal. Did I get an email from Youbet making me aware of this, of course not? I guess as a paying customer I was not entitled to know something that effected my service but I am used to crappy service from Youbetand I accepted this explanation at face value. I was then told if I reconfigured my media player I could get the signal. To make a long story short, after an hour and a half of downloading addition files and reconfiguring my media player over the phone with a techie from Youbet I still could not view video from Aqueduct. At this point I was told a supervisor with more technical skill would have to help me and since it was Sunday afternoon this savvy supervisor was would not be available until Monday or Tuesday at the earliest. It’s Tuesday and I am still waiting on the call from that supervisor.
Between the infighting and the crappy service, I wonder how long content providers think racing fans will tolerate this kind of treatment. What is the use of trying to generate a new fan base when you treat your existing fan base this way?