It now goes without saying, but a lot of things are different. Many Americans find themselves spending more time with entertainment and news, shining a light on the important role media plays in our lives. Our favorite shows can feel like old friends, taking us out of our stress and reminding us of the familiar. With that in mind, many cable TV programmers have launched special initiatives to keep Americans entertained and informed during this unprecedented time.
In a time of crisis, clear, straightforward information is vital. That’s why many cable tv programmers are using their platforms to help cut through the confusion and keep viewers up to date with the latest facts. Some examples include:
- ViacomCBS and NBCUniversal have teamed up with the Ad Council to produce a wide range of PSAs to promote social distancing, public health tips, and other vital information as the pandemic develops.
- Univision has started a daily network-wide COVID–19 update that preempts all local programming, delivering up to date accurate information to a Spanish-language audience. They have also set up a live blog on their website with the most up-to-date information on the outbreak.
- Kids’ programmers like Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network have launched media campaigns targeted at helping children process the news as well as educate them.
- Nickelodeon also hosted a special live event to talk kids through the unknown and reassure them, as well as providing resources and activity guides for parents and families.
- C-SPAN has launched a special COVID–19 federal response page which aggregates all the public briefings from elected officials as this pandemic unfolds.
- NCTA members have committed to over $100 million in COVID–19 public service advertising.
- Discovery's “Turn Up! Fight Hunger,” an ongoing partnership with Food Network and No Kid Hungry, is matching donations to help feed at-risk youth alongside Save the Children. The company has also teamed up with Food Network’s Guy Fieri to support Restaurant Relief America.
Beyond getting the message out, TV programmers are offering free entertainment, new schedules, and more to keep Americans entertained while they stay in their homes for the foreseeable future. Some initiatives include:
- HBO has extended 500 hours of movies and shows for free, with no subscription required.
- Comcast has extended on-demand libraries for X1 and Flex customers, including non-English language TV programming.
- Showtime is offering a one-month free trial for new customers.
- AMC Networks is offering some of their programming across their family of networks (including BBC America, AMC, and IFC) free of charge.
- BBC America also pushed forward the season premiere of their hit show Killing Eve by two weeks.
- Fox is offering cable subscribers free access to its news content.
While we all do our part and stay at home, be sure to check out some of the entertainment options now available to make the days a little less stressful.