COVID-19 is changing the world in more ways than one. In addition to forcing nations to close borders both outside and inside, it is also forcing people to reorganize their lives around the Internet while confined at home. Unsurprisingly, that has prompted many content distributors to ramp up their offerings to keep their customers from going insane. The latest to follow that trend are giving subscribers and users more free content to consume in the days ahead.
Comcast is giving Xfinity X1 and Flex customers a new serving of free content from its premium networks and subscription VOD catalog. But instead of just pushing more things to keep you entertained, its selection of videos from CuriosityStream, HISTORY Vault, and The Reading Corner is also intended to keep you educated. Customers can simply say “Free” to their voice remote to see what’s available now with more content promised to come soon.
Verizon’s “More at Home… on Us” program is making a similar offer but with some caveats. Its lineup of educational content from Quizlet, Bookful, and Epic! will be free for Verizon and Fios customers only for 60 days starting April. Fios TV customers who don’t subscribe to premium channels will get 30 days of free SHOWTIME and Epix for 30 days only starting April as well.
Plex is probably better known for being a media center platform than a streaming service but it does have some things to offer during these dark times. Beyond offering Live TV for free without a Plex Pass until the end of June, it is also informing users how Plex can be used as a streaming platform for online classes. Oh, and it has an unofficial coloring book, too.
It is definitely encouraging to see these companies step up to challenge of enticing people to just stay at home and help flatten the curve. But while the offers are free, it isn’t without its consequences. As more and more people rely on the Internet to keep them distracted, entertained, or even educated, the strain on network infrastructures and systems may also have an adverse effect on important uses of the Internet as well.