Sling TV has joined the growing number of TV providers to entice people with free content while encouraging them to stay home to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The online service, which serves as a cable substitute aimed at cord-cutters, has offered up free programming during primetime viewing offers to non-subscribers. Sling TV Group President Warren Schlichting issued a statement over the matter, according to CNET.
"Since we can't serve you a beverage or basket of hot wings, we're introducing a new kind of happy hour – TV 'on the house' every night," Schlichting's statement read. "Much like a real happy hour, TV is often a shared experience. So grab your favorite refreshment, tune in with your friends and family, and get those group chats ready." The statement also noted that news consumption on its platform had increased a whopping 164 percent since the pandemic took hold.
The deal takes effect on Wednesday and provides access to Sling TV's Blue TV tier for free from 5 p.m. to midnight, local time. To sign up, visit the special Happy Hour section of its website. No credit card is required, though users will need to download the Sling TV app on their preferred device to get access.
Among the channels offered include AMC, just in time for the Season 5 finale of Better Call Saul, as well as FX, HGTV and Bravo, to name a few. In total, the package includes 50 live channels, free cloud DVR and over 50,000 on-demand programs available at no cost during the quarantine.
The move is similar to a number of other streaming platforms that have granted either extended free trials or access to their content without a subscription. Earlier in April, HBO put out more than 500 hours of its original content available for free, including beloved shows like The Sopranos, The Wire and even Game of Thrones.
There have been some downsides to the increased reliance on streaming while more than a billion people are self-isolating around the world. Companies like Netflix and Disney+ have lowered their streaming quality in certain countries in order to keep up with demand, while YouTube has also lowered its default setting for the time being.
As of Wednesday, there have been 636,350 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. Currently, social distancing guidelines, which include staying six feet away from everyone not in your household and wearing face masks when venturing out in public, are in place through the month of April.