Comcast is holding its fifth annual Watchathon week from April 3rd through April 9th! Every year Comcast hosts, what they call, the Xfinity Watchathon—a free video-on-demand (VOD) binge fest. This year, for the first time, Netflix will be included in the all-access promo.
The Watchathon is a promotion designed to convince current Xfinity customers to switch to a higher tier package. As long as you are an Xfinity customer, with an Xfinity X1 box, you’ll have full access to all Comcast channels, including premium channels like AMC and Starz during the course of the Watchathon. This year, users will have access to all of the Netflix catalogue as well.
While this alliance with an OTT service may seem odd given Comcast’s quest to fight the cord-cutting movement, there has been thought put behind this. For example, Comcast may be hoping that by offering Netflix as part of a large cable channel package customers will be less tempted to cut the cord and switch to Netflix alone.
However, the incentive for Netflix to participate in the Watchathon is even more clear. They are hoping that users will see what Netflix has to offer and decide that the high cost of cable simply isn’t worth it. At the very least, more people are being exposed to Netflix’s vast catalogue of content, which could lead to more customers down the line.\
With more than 50 participating networks and the addition of Netflix, we are thrilled to bring Xfinity TV customers the biggest and best binge watching event for the fifth year in a row,” Andy Hunter, vice president, programming at Comcast Cable, said in a statement. “The focus of Xfinity Watchathon Week is to provide complete, unlimited access to the best programming and give our customers the ability to sample, binge and explore everything our content partners have to offer.”
This is the fifth installment of, what has now become, an annual event for Comcast. During 2016, the company reports, a total of 71 million hours of content were directly tied to the watchathon week. Last year, Game of Thrones and Starz’s The Girlfriend Experience were the top programs watched. It will be interesting to see what 2017 brings!