Disney's direct to consumer chief Kevin Mayer, far left, with the cast of Disney's 'Lady and the Tramp' at a screening sponsored by Disney Plus. Photo by AP
Entertainment

As Streaming Land Grab Heats Up, Companies Try Giveaways

Photo: Disney's direct to consumer chief Kevin Mayer, far left, with the cast of Disney's 'Lady and the Tramp' at a screening sponsored by Disney Plus. Photo by AP

The video streaming wars are entering a new, more costly phase: new entrants are literally giving away their services.

Disney, Apple, AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Comcast’s NBCUniversal have each said they will offer their upcoming streaming services for no charge to large groups of potential customers. Disney, for instance, last week struck a deal with Verizon that lets some of its customers get Disney Plus free for a year, while Apple said last month it would offer its Apple TV Plus streaming service for a year free to anyone who buys a new Apple device. Giveaways of WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock will likely be more for phone or cable customers of affiliated companies—some AT&T wireless customers who also subscribe to HBO will reportedly get free access to HBO Max, for instance—but the effect is the same.

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