March 26, 2020
AT&T March 26 became the latest media company offering limited free access to proprietary and third-party content during the coronavirus pandemic.
The telecom is offering DirecTV, U-Verse, AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now subscribers free access to HBO, Starz, Cinemax and Epix into April. Starz and Epix are owned by Lionsgate and MGM, respectively.
Starz will be available from March 26 to April 4, Epix from April 4 to April 16, and HBO and Cinemax available from April 17 to 20.
CBS All Access earlier announced it would give a free 30-day trial to new subscribers.
The strategy comes as AT&T readies the May launch of HBO Max — the $14.99 SVOD platform it hopes to carry initially on the backs of existing pay-TV subscribers. For the telecom, unfortunately, those subs have been leaving in droves.
AT&T lost 1.2 million streaming video and pay-TV subs in the most-recent fiscal period. It lost 2.9 million subs in the previous three fiscal quarters combined.
And with 3.3 million people filing for unemployment benefits this week — the highest tally since 1982 — due to the drastic economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, pay-TV might become an unnecessary luxury to millions more.