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All the streaming services with coronavirus discounts and free trials

Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

From our Obsession

The Third Age of TV

First came broadcast, then cable, now streaming.

A number of niche streaming services are using the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to show off their products to a population suddenly in the market for cheap, at-home entertainment options.

The global appetite for online video content may never be stronger than it is right now as millions of people around the world are confined to their homes. Global streaming activity jumped 20% last weekend, Bloomberg reported. Streaming hours on the gaming platform Twitch increased 15% in the last few days alone. And video game usage in North America grew 75% from last week, according to Verizon.

Netflix and Disney+ are already known commodities, but several other platforms with less brand recognition are offering free or discounted subscriptions in order to be included in consumers’ cultural diet while they’re stuck at home:

Acorn TV

The streaming service, available in several countries, is offering a 30-day free trial to customers who use the code FREE30 when signing up. (The free trial is usually one week.) Acorn TV specializes in programming from the United Kingdom, like the murder mystery series Midsomer Mysteries and the medical dramedy Doc Martin. After the free trial, the service costs $6 per month or $60 a year.

Sundance Now

Owned by AMC Networks, Sundance Now offers a variety of dramas and documentaries, including the acclaimed miniseries The Little Drummer Girl and the show McMafia. Like Acorn TV, Sundance Now is extending their seven-day free trial to 30 days, with the code SUNDANCENOW30. After that, it’s $7 per month, or $5 per month if you commit to a yearly subscription.

Sling TV

The American internet TV service is offering thousands of hours of its programming for free temporarily because of coronavirus. Among the free content is access to ABC News Live, as well as entertainment for kids. Here’s how to sign up. Existing Sling subscribers can access the free content without changing their subscriptions.

PBS

The Public Broadcasting Service is making Ken Burns’ Emmy-winning documentary series Baseball available for free on its site and all other PBS digital platforms. With the opening of the Major League Baseball season pushed back, the docuseries could whet your appetite for America’s pastime. Or maybe it’ll just make you miss it even more.

Shudder

Zombie aficionados, rejoice. The horror-centric streaming service, Shudder, is extending its free trial to 30 days with the code SHUTIN. Subscriptions are then about $5 per month. Shudder is currently only available in the US, UK, Canada, and Ireland.

VidAngel

The family-friendly American service is now available for free until March 30 (it’s usually $10) if you agree to social distancing. The platform, which boasts “the world’s largest library of clean comedy,” also includes a feature that allows users to skip “objectionable” content on Netflix and Amazon.

The Metropolitan Opera

North America’s largest classical music organization, which temporarily shut down last week, is providing nightly streams of performances on its site for free, as long as the opera remains closed. On tap tonight is Verdi’s Il Trovatore, conducted by Marco Armiliato. Next week is Wagner week. Here’s the current schedule.

DOX Channel

The documentary streaming service has cut the cost of an annual subscription, from $30 to $15, if you sign up before March 31. The service has a number of acclaimed documentaries, including Blackfish, Man on Wire, and I’m Still Here.

Disney+

Disney isn’t offering anything for free, but it did throw a bone to parents everywhere and made Frozen II available on its streaming service three months ahead of schedule. Disney+ also went live three weeks early in India, where it was originally supposed to launch March 29.

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