How many sports fans quickly jumped to streaming services like Hulu + Live TV when YouTube TV pulled all Disney-owned channels (including ESPN networks) from its service? Subscribers likely believed that they could just move back to YouTube TV during a free trial period if the carriage dispute with Disney was resolved and not lose anything in the process.
Well, that might depend on how quickly subscribers made that decision once YouTube TV and Disney reached a new agreement. Those who canceled their Hulu + Live TV subscriptions during the nearly 48-hour period when Disney channels weren’t available on YouTube TV should have been able to with no strings attached — or can still enjoy the 30-day free trial before canceling.
But anyone now considering signing up for Hulu + Live TV will no longer receive a free trial period with their subscription. Hulu discontinued the free trial with its monthly rate increase to $69.99 as of Tuesday, Dec. 21. On the plus side, Hulu is now part of the Disney bundle with Disney+ and ESPN+. But by gaining two other streaming services, subscribers lose the 30-day free trial.
As The Streamable points out, eliminating the free trial period is becoming a standard practice for the big streaming platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, and Peacock Premium. Among live TV streaming services, free trials are still available but for a much shorter seven-day period with YouTube TV, fuboTV, and Philo. Sling TV offers a discounted $10 rate for the first month, while DIRECTV STREAM allows new subscribers to cancel within the first two weeks after signing up.
YouTube TV pulled Disney-owned channels from its service on Dec. 17 after failing to reach an agreement. That was received with a surge of outrage from sports fans who weren’t able to watch the beginning of college football bowl season in addition to several college basketball matchups.
We may never know why the carriage dispute was resolved so quickly. Were Google (owner of YouTube TV) and Disney already close to an agreement before the Dec. 17 deadline? Or did Google underestimate the number of customers upset over those channels being pulled and willing to immediately move to other platforms like Hulu + Live TV and fuboTV?
However, those who waited to sign up for Hulu — even for a couple of days — now don’t have the luxury of trying the service out during a free trial to see if it fits.