Here you go, Xfinity TV customers who enjoy binge viewing: From March 25-31 the No. 1 cable operator will offer its “Xfinity Watchathon Week” with free VOD and streaming access to more than 3,500 episodes of 100 TV series across 30 premium, cable and broadcast networks. It’s “the biggest catch-up ever in TV history,” says Comcast Cable VP Video Services Maggie Suniewick. Series will include Downton Abbey, Game Of Thrones, Dexter, Girls, Spartacus, Duck Dynasty, Mad Men, Revolution, The Walking Dead, Touch, Chicago Fire, Psych, Parenthood, and The Americans. Comcast teased the event at an investment conference last week. The company is eager to promote its VOD library to viewers who like the flexibility they find with services such as Netflix to watch shows spontaneously, without having to pre-program a DVR. Comcast also wants to show networks that they can benefit from VOD; it supports Nielsen’s C3 ratings and Comcast sometimes disables fast-forwarding, which raises the number of viewers who see commercials. Premium channels also will be able to give non-subscribers a taste: Comcast says that Watchathon will offer “almost the entire on demand TV libraries” for HBO, Showtime, and Starz including The Sopranos, Sex And The City, and The Wire. Programs will be available at Xfinity.com/tv, the Xfinity TV Player App for Apple and Android devices, and Xfinity Streampix as well as the conventional VOD service for subscribers. Some shows won’t be available on all platforms, but Comcast says that in “virtually all cases” viewers can watch “regardless of [the] customer’s subscription level.” Comcast will introduce a Watchathon Week microsite to help customers find programming. It also will offer behind-the-scenes features and games.
The Watchathon event will be followed by an initiative called “Catch-Up of the Week”: Comcast will mix current and past seasons of different series each week for the rest of this year. It will be available to all Xfinity customers, and will include shows from premium channels including ones that a subscriber doesn’t typically receive.