Virtual MVPDs Look to Cash In on Black Friday

With television sets, smartphones and tablets once again high on holiday shopping lists, virtual MVPDs are stepping up to the plate with offers to entice new customers.

Sling TV’s holiday offers include a free Roku Express ($29.99 at retail) or Amazon Fire TV Stick ($39.99) when a customer prepays for two months of service. Prepay for three months and get $50 off a Roku Ultra ($99.99). Sling’s even partnering with retail stores on various promos, including a $210 credit for the streaming service when consumers purchase an LG OLED B7 TV from Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s. Select streaming devices, smart TVs and antennas from Best Buy come with an extended free trial of Sling. And Sling TV gift cards are also available at retailers across the country and online.

AT&T is taking a similar approach for its vMVPD service DirecTV NOW. Customers who prepay for four months can get a free Apple TV 4K ($199.99 in many stores). Two months of prepaid service get consumers a free Roku streaming stick. AT&T’s holiday promotions span across much of its product offerings, including home automation.

Meanwhile, Playstation Vue is running a promo this week with Groupon and Living Social for a free 14-day trial of its Core Plan. The promotional value expires January 1, so that gift givers can bundle it with the various devices on sale for Black Friday.

Some OTT services are getting into the holiday promotional spirit. Turner’s classic movie service FilmStruck is offering a Roku Express device with the purchase of a $99 annual gift subscription. The offer is available through Dec 31, while supplies last.

Traditional MVPDs aren’t sitting the shopping season out. Comcast is offering customers about 50 newly released movies they can own for $10 each. The electronic sell-through sale includes “Wonder Woman,” “Baby Driver” and “Glass Castle” and runs through Nov 27. Verizon Fios has launched a Thanksgiving sale that’s centered on electronic sell-through of TV episodes. It’s also launching its first-ever Black Friday offer, which actually starts on Thanksgiving and runs through Monday. New customers who order Fios Gigabit Connection, Custom TV and Phone online for $79.99 a month with a two-year agreement can also choose a new Google Home, Nest Thermostat E or $100 Target Gift Card. The bundle also comes with Showtime and multi-room DVR for two years.

The Consumer Technology Association projects that tech season will reach a record $96.8 billion this holiday season, with a record 79 million US adults planning on buying emerging technology. CTA projects drone sales will rise 31 percent over last year to 1.6mln units, while it sees 33 percent of Americans buying a smart home device—up nine percentage points from last year. VR headsets are also expected to be more popular this year, with CTA pegging sales at 2.7 million units (up 282 percent year-over-year). Televisions remain the top gift consumers want to receive, according to CTA’ s holiday forecast, followed by laptops, smartphones, tablets and game consoles.

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