DIRECTV Stream and Sling TV are both bundling free premium channels with their current promotional offers to new customers.
Sling TV, which has been offering the first month of its base monthly $35 packages for 50 percent off, is now including a free month of Showtime, Starz and Epix in the deal. The Dish-owned streamer does not say at its web site how long the promotional bundle will be available, but it’s only good to new customers.
DIRECTV Stream, the sister service of DIRECTV, the satellite TV operator, has been offering $15 off the first two months of its packages. But Stream is now including three months free of HBO Max, Showtime, Starz, Epix and Cinemax. (Note: Free HBO Max requires a Choice plan or above; the other premiums are available in all packages.)
Like Sling, the promo is only available to new customers. (DIRECTV or U-verse customers switching to DIRECTV Stream are not eligible.). In addition, you can only watch the premium channels for free for three months if you maintain your DIRECTV Stream subscription during that time.
DIRECTV Stream does not say at its web site how long the premium channel bundle will be available.
The premium channel promos are more examples of live streaming services experimenting with new ways to generate subscribers and increase revenue. While cord-cutters like that live streaming services don’t require contracts, and feature prices lower than cable or satellite, the industry has not flourished the way some analysts thought it would. Seven years after the first live streamer launched (Sling TV in February 2015), the category still has fewer than 15 million subscriptions with Hulu Live and YouTube TV leading the way with around four million each.
Hulu Live, YouTube TV and FuboTV are currently not offering free premium channels with their promotional offers. However, Hulu Live’s $69.99 monthly base price has included Disney+ and ESPN+ since December.
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— Phillip Swann