HBO freeloaders have only a few days left to binge-watch the premium programmer’s unprecedented batch of 500 hours of TV shows, movies and documentaries — which it has made available for free for the month of April.
The huge trove of HBO content, which has been free across a range of platforms (only in the U.S.), will be going back behind the paywall after April 30.
On April 3, HBO unlocked full seasons of nine original series — 490 episodes in all: “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Veep,” “Succession,” “Silicon Valley,” “Six Feet Under,” “Ballers,” “Barry” and “True Blood.” A week later, it added the two seasons of “Big Little Lies” (14 episodes) to the mix.
On top of that, 20 Warner Bros. movies in HBO’s current catalog are streaming for free including “Pokémon Detective Pikachu,” “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” and “Empire of the Sun”; as well as 10 HBO documentary films and docuseries including “The Case Against Adnan Syed.”
HBO’s free-streaming bounty — the biggest single content giveaway in its history — comes during the COVID-19 lockdowns that have kept Americans housebound. In announcing the promo, the premium cabler said it is intended to “provide some entertainment relief for those doing their part to keep everyone safe and healthy in this time of social isolation.” But clearly, HBO is hoping the super-size sampler platter will snag it some incremental paying subscribers — and the free bonanza is a lead-in to the May 27 debut of WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, to be stocked with a whopping 10,000 hours of material at launch.
HBO isn’t the only premium service that has dropped paywalls during the coronavirus crisis, while streaming to the TV has boomed. ViacomCBS’s Showtime, for one, said signups this month are up an average of 148%, thanks to its expanded 30-day-free trial offer. That said, analysts and industry execs aren’t sure whether today’s freebies will yield a long-term revenue boost.
Click here for the full list of HBO TV shows, movies and documentaries free-to-stream through April 30.
Until this Thursday, the free content from HBO is available on mobile apps for HBO Now (for iOS and Android) and HBO Go (for iOS and Android), hbonow.com, hbogo.com, and through third-party distribution partners including Apple TV, the Roku Channel, and Amazon.
(Pictured above (l. to r.): Michael K. Williams in “The Wire”; James Gandolfini in “The Sopranos”; Julia Louis-Dreyfus in “Veep”)