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Books, dance lessons, ‘Sopranos’ — freebies abound online

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Courtesy; AP

NEW YORK (WLNS) — We might not be totally free these days, but there’s a lot out there that is.

Companies like Pure Barre and Peloton are offering free access to fitness classes. According to the Associated Press, Amazon is giving away book classics like “The Call of the Wild” and “Emma,” and MasterClass has experts offering their wisdom for nothing.

The coronovirus’s shutdown has wreaked havoc on so many lives and also disrupted many company plans. But some are offering their goods for free or dropping their paywalls for a limited time.

It may not make the best financial decision, but marketing experts say it’s good public relations and a nice way to hook future customers as long as it doesn’t seem like companies are taking advantage of the virus.

Free shows and films from the entertainment world are a warm blanket for the home-bound. HBO is making free streams of “The Sopranos,” “Veep,” “Succession,” “Six Feet Under” and “The Wire” on HBO Now.

Apple TV Plus is allowing free access to some of its original programs, including “Servant” from M. Night Shyamalan. The distributor FilmRise has the campy 1960s series “Batman” with Adam West — “Bam! Pow!” — and Showtime has extended its free trial period to 30 days. PBS is streaming “ Nature ” episodes and its “ Great Performances,” from Shakespeare to ”Kinky Boots,” and YouTube is making many of its original series available to anyone without a subscription.

Companies hoping to get us off the couch also have deals: Nike has made online workouts free, Planet Fitness is streaming live workouts on Facebook and Gold’s Gym is offering free access to its app. The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has online classes for the brave — or you can just soak in one of their ballets, all free.

Live theatrical venues like the Metropolitan Opera plans a streaming gala later this month, Cirque du Soleil has put out free 60-minute compilation specials every week and Andrew Lloyd Webber has new streaming broadcasts of his musicals each Friday for 48 hours on a dedicated YouTube channel.

“It’s a crazy idea to think this Friday, globally, everyone could be going to the theater together for free. Isn’t that amazing?” said Ramin Karimloo who stared as the title character in Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” filmed in 2011. “I’m not saying it’s life-saving but this helps. Even those health care workers who come home, maybe they want to forget what they just went through for 12 hours.”

Some media companies have built good will by seemingly riding to the rescue of anyone with kids, like Audible making free dozens of narrated books, from “Harry Potter” to “Peter Rabbit.” Older kids can enjoy Lionsgate films free on its YouTube channel — “The Hunger Games, “La La Land,” and “Dirty Dancing.”

Apple TV Plus has also made some of its kids’ offering free, including the series “Snoopy in Space” featuring everyone’s favorite fictional beagle. Peanuts Worldwide is offering free online educational materials to boost the show’s learning.

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