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Comcast Sets Another ‘Watchathon Week’

Comcast has set April 18 as the start of its fourth-annual “Xfinity Watchathon Week,” a cross-platform VOD binge-fest aimed to help viewers catch up on TV series and tune in for the new seasons.

The latest tilt will provide access to more than 250 shows from north of 50 networks on set-tops as well as the authenticated Xfinity TV app and Web site, Andy Hunter, vice president of programming at Comcast Cable, said in this blog post.

“Watchathon Week is the perfect opportunity to hunker down and catch up on every episode from all the acclaimed new series you may have missed, including FX’sAmerican Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson, NBC’s Chicago Med and USA’s Mr. Robot,” Hunter said.

Last year’s Watchathon Week, which ran from April 6-12, broke on-demand viewing records as customers watched more than 56 million hours of video, up 13% from the previous year’s binge-fest. Comcast’s VOD service for set-tops also, for the first time, exceeded 1 million streams on consecutive days.

Last year, mobile viewing during the week-long event also grew 64%, Hunter noted.

On Tuesday, Comcast also announced it had struck an expanded content licensing deal with The Walt Disney Studios to offer a selection of digital library titles and new releases as they become available via the Xfinity On Demand digital store, an electronic sell-through (EST) platform that lets customers buy and rent titles that can be played back on set-tops and via mobile apps. The new deal covers titles from Disney and other properties such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney•Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucasfilm, Disneynature and Touchstone Pictures.

As a prime example, the new deal gives Comcast subs the ability to buy a digital version of  Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Tied in, Comcast will also join Disney Movies Anywhere, a cloud-based “digital locker,” as a participating retailer, with an  official launch to be announced at a later date.

Comcast launched its EST service in 2013, and has deals with several other studios, including corporate cousin NBCUniversal, Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros.