News Analysis
DIRECTV Now is giving away a free year of HBO to any subscriber who signed up before March 6, reports The Verge.

The deal, which was communicated this week to customers via an e-mail, comes with “no strings attached,” says the live streaming service. Normally, DIRECTV Now charges $5 a month for HBO, in addition to the subscriber’s base plan.

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“We want to thank you for being one of our most valuable customers and coming on this unprecedented journey with us,” the DIRECTV Now e-mail says.

And it has been a journey for many — a rocky journey.

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DIRECTV Now, which launched November 30, has been riddled with one technical snafu after another, ranging from picture freezing to login issues to accidental blackouts of sports and other programming to total system outages. By all measures, live streaming is a relative young technology, but DIRECTV NOW has been more like the crying infant, constantly requiring assistance.

And this is why DIRECTV Now is offering the free year of HBO.

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Many DIRECTV Now subscribers initially signed up for three months — and pre-paid — because they received a free Apple TV set-top if they did. However, for most of those early sign-ups, the three-month period has, or will soon, come to an end. Considering the three months has been anything but satisfactory, odds are good that a significant percentage do not plan to renew.

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So DIRECTV Now is offering the free year of HBO to try to keep them on board. It may not work, but when you are constantly asking your customers for patience, it’s worth a try.

— Phillip Swann