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US senator asks Netflix, Hulu, more streaming services to waive fees over Christmas

Maine senator Angus King wrote that offering free content would be ‘a public service’ for those looking to avoid public gatherings this year

Rachel Brodsky
Los Angeles
Thursday 17 December 2020 19:11 GMT
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Senator Angus King: Netflix, Hulu, more should waive fees over Christmas
Senator Angus King: Netflix, Hulu, more should waive fees over Christmas (Getty Images)

Maine senator Angus King has suggested that one way to help curb the spread of Covid-19 over the holidays would be to make streaming services like Netflix and Hulu free for non-subscribers.

In a letter addressed to executives at Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Hulu, King wrote that free access to streaming platforms could help incentivise people to stay indoors and avoid public gatherings.

"As organisations around the country continue to respond to the spread of the novel coronavirus, or Covid-19, I am reaching out to discuss and consider the unique role that your companies play in providing content-based activities this holiday season," wrote King.

"Specifically, I encourage you to temporarily remove any cost considerations for use of your services for current non-subscribers as a public service to who are seeking to remain safe and indoors this holiday season, as opposed to the risks involved as the nation sees a dramatic surge in pandemic cases.

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"At this time, we must find ways to incentivise people to follow guidance from the CDC, their employer, local public health officials, or school leaders," King continued. "Unfortunately, some Americans are likely to choose to ignore public health advice and carry on their typical holiday traditions instead of remaining safely at home.

"While your platforms would likely experience greater traffic as a consequence of extending service, we encourage you to provide temporary service at no cost to non-subscribers as a way to encourage people to make responsible choices and safely navigate this holiday season," he finished.

In the pandemic's early days, King advocated for better internet access for families working from home, urging eight major providers to improve remote technologies.

Over Thanksgiving, King wrote an op-ed in the Times Record stating that he and his family would be forgoing their usual Thanksgiving celebrations “in an act of love.”

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