Freebies are the key hook in new ‘streaming wars’

Consumer

FILE – In this March 25, 2019, file photo Peter Stern, Apple Vice President of Services, speaks at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products in Cupertino, Calif. Apple TV Plus launches on Friday for $5 a month with just eight shows and a few more coming soon. Apple will bundle it with sales of new gadgets like the iPhone, Mac and Apple TV. That suggests a market of 40 million customers, said Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

(AP)–Apple, Disney and AT&T want to jump-start their new streaming services with a big audience base as they face off with Netflix.

One way to do that is to bring on the freebies.

That includes a free year of Apple TV Plus for customers of new Apple devices and a free year of Disney Plus to higher-tier Verizon customers. Some existing HBO subscribers will also get the super-charged version, HBO Max, at no additional cost.

A big question is whether subscribers will stick around when the deals end.

Experts say it’s important to sign up customers now — and services can worry later about keeping them. That can happen by offering must-see shows they can’t get anywhere else or tying discounts to other services that are difficult to drop.

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