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Comcast’s Next ‘Watchathon’ Offers Subset of Programming to Internet-Only Subs

Comcast has set April 16-22 for its sixth-annual Xfinity Watchathon and, in a new twist, will offer a subset of programming to internet-only customers, including HBOs Game of Thrones, via the MSO’s Xfinity Stream app for mobile devices and web portal.

This year’s Xfinity Watchathon, a free VOD binge-fest used in part to drive interest in TV series ahead of their season premieres, will offer access to thousands of shows and movies from more than 50 networks, including HBO, Showtime, NBC, and Starz, as well Netflix original series and subscription VOD services that include Dog TV, CuriosityStream and Acorn TV.

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Also part of the mix this year will be two relatively new commercial-free services – AMC Premiere and FX+, Comcast said.

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The offer to internet-only subscribers for a portion of content that is on offer via this year’s Watchathon aims to give them a taste of the VOD fare available through Comcast’s pay TV service and as an apparent enticement to subscribe.

Content available to that internet-only group will include HBO’s Game of Thrones and Westworld; Showtime’s Billions and Homeland; Starz’s Outlander and Power; AMC’s The Terror; Fox’s 9-1-1 and X-Files; Archer (via FX+), and NBC’s AP Bio and Rise.

Comcast noted that the full Showtime catalog will be available on Comcast’s VOD platform and the Xfinity Stream app and portal for a portion of the Watchathon (April 19-22).

The Watchathon web site has also teed up some games related to the initiative, including “TV in Other Worlds,” which tests TV show knowledge by having visitor guess show titles with replaced words.

Last year’s Watchathon, the first from Comcast to include Netflix content, set a record, as customers tuned in to watch more than 77 million hours of VOD fare. Mobile viewing, via the Stream app, rose to 4.5 million hours during last year’s Watchathon.

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“We love bringing Xfinity Watchathon Week to our customers each year and surprising them with new and unexpected content. This year, we’re really turning up the dial by offering X1 customers a unique opportunity to sample and explore the best programming from dozens of traditional networks and studios, streaming services and emerging SVODs - all aggregated together on the biggest screen in the home,” Daniel Spinosa, vice president, video entertainment services at Comcast Cable, said in a statement. “But we also didn’t want to leave Xfinity Internet customers out of the fun so for the first time we’re inviting them to experience Watchathon Week commitment-free by downloading the Xfinity Stream app or going to the Xfinity Stream portal to get access to a selection of Watchathon Week movies and TV shows on their devices all week long.”