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Sling TV offers free viewing during primetime hours

You'll have to sign up, but you won't have to pay.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 14, 2020
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Omar Marques/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Sling TV thinks it can do more to keep you entertained during the COVID-19 pandemic than offer extended trials like everyone else. It just launched a promo that offers free Sling Blue access between 5PM and midnight, offering access to channels like AMC, Discovery and FX as well as cloud DVR and on-demand videos. And no, this doesn’t appear to be a way to trick you into a subscription — you won’t be asked to fork over your credit card details.

There are still catches beyond the time restrictions. This isn’t Sling Orange, so you’ll miss out on Disney and ESPN. Sling adds that it might contact you about TV services, so don’t be surprised if you get marketing messages later. And while the provider hasn’t set a firm end date, it’s clear this is a “limited time offer.” You’ll eventually have to subscribe if you want to keep this going in perpetuity.

Even so, it’s a fairly aggressive gesture. Sling is no doubt hoping that some of these free viewers will turn into paying subscribers, but it’s also giving away some choice material during the very hours when people are most likely to watch. It might not have had much choice if it wanted to remain competitive. Roku and many other platforms have seen surges of demand during coronavirus lockdowns. If Sling didn’t entice people to watch, it risked being drowned out by competition that frequently has its own freebies.

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