Cable Operators

Comcast to Tempt VOD Bingers With 'Watchathon Week'

MSO Will Make 100 Series Available to Subs for No Extra Charge From March 25-31 3/13/2013 8:42 AM Eastern

Comcast wants to get more customers addicted to VOD by making 3,500-plus of episodes from 30 TV networks available to Xfinity TV subscribers from March 25-31 for no extra charge, including full seasons of current shows from premium nets HBO, Showtime and Starz.

The MSO’s promotion is aimed at “binge viewers,” who consume an increasing amount of video through its VOD service. Comcast says TV shows have become the most popular content on its video-on-demand service, with subs watching more than 80 million hours of TV episodes per month.

Comcast also is looking to throw an elbow in the face of Netflix, which has fueled the binge-watching phenomenon and recently bowed the exclusive House of Cards series in one big 13-episode chunk. Unlike Netflix, Comcast offers current-season fare from broadcast, cable and premium networks.

All told, about 100 shows are in the mix. Those include every episode of every season of series including HBO’s Game of Thrones and Girls,  PBS’s Downton Abbey, Showtime’s Dexter, Starz’s Spartacus and A&E’s Duck Dynasty. In addition, Comcast will offer full current or most recent seasons of AMC’s Mad Men and The Walking Dead, Fox’s Touch, USA’s Psych, FX’s The Americans and NBC’s Revolution, Chicago Fire and Parenthood.

The Watchathon Week promo “will be the biggest catch-up ever in TV history,” Maggie Suniewick, vice president and video services for Comcast Cable, said in a statement.

The free week of VOD includes shows from 30 premium, cable and broadcast networks. All VOD-enabled Xfinity TV customers will have access to the content, and in some cases it will also be available on the Web and via mobile apps. Participating programmers include HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax; broadcast networks ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and PBS; and cable networks A&E, AMC, BBC America, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, FX, History, IFC, Lifetime, LOGOTV, MTV, mun2, National Geographic, Syfy, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, TV Land, USA and WE.

In addition to traditional VOD, some of the Watchathon Week content will be available on Xfinity.com/tv, the Xfinity TV Player App for Apple and Android devices, and Xfinity Streampix.

Following Watchathon Week, Comcast will launch “Catch-Up of the Week” on April 1. That will offer a mix of current and past seasons of top shows on a specific network, or a different, popular TV series each week through the end of 2013, the operator said.

September