Comcast Bows ‘Free This Week’ Marketing Campaign Featuring Third-Party Content

Comcast Jan. 3 announced the launch of “Free This Week,” a new year-long marketing campaign that aims to offer Xfinity customers more reasons to remain pay-TV subscribers. The program offers subs access to a weekly selection of content from top participating streaming services and premium networks.

The programming will be curated and available on X1 and Flex, in addition to the Xfinity Stream app and Xumo’s XClass TV.

The first two weeks will feature free access to wellness apps such as The Great Courses, Gaia, One Day University, Gaiam TV, Sweat Factor and FitFusion by Jillian Michaels. Future participating networks and streaming services include HBO Max, Paramount Global’s Showtime, Revolt, History Vault and Lifetime Movie Club, among others.

The campaign comes 10 years after Xfinity’s inaugural free content sampling, Watchathon Week, and represents an evolution of the company’s free programming strategy providing customers with something free to watch, every week of the year. New data released by Xfinity shows viewership typically doubles during the time a network or streaming service participates in a content sampling initiative.

“We are offering customers a no-strings-attached chance to discover something new every week of the year, building on the great success previously established with events like Watchathon Week and Free TV Week,” Sophia Ahmad, EVP and CMO for Comcast Cable, said in a statement.

Comcast ‘Watchathon’ Content Extravaganza Returns April 27-May 3 for X1 and Flex Subscribers

Comcast April 23 announced the pending return of its “Watchathon” week-long event affording Xfinity X1 cable and Flex broadband-only subscribers access to proprietary and third-party pay-TV and SVOD sources such as Hulu and HBO Max, among others.

The ninth annual promotion includes every episode of the first three seasons of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” ahead of the fourth season premiering April 28, as well as Hulu originals such as A Teacher and Palm Springs.

Max, including the entire HBO library, features “The Nevers,””Mare of Easttown,” starring Kate Winslet, and all of “Game of Thrones” on demand, and for the first time, a sampling of several Max Originals such as “The Flight Attendant” and the first season of “Love Life.

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The full AMC+ on-demand catalog will be available during the week, including “The Walking Dead” universe and exclusive specials ad-free, “Gangs of London,” and the AMC+ original “Spy City.

Premium networks such as Viacom CBS’s Showtime, Lionsgate’s Starz and MGM’s Epix will make their full on demand catalog available throughout the week, giving customers access to top shows and content such as the Starz’s “Outlander,” Epix’s “Godfather of Harlem” and Showtime drama “City on a Hill,” among many others.

“Our customers are streaming more content than ever on our entertainment platforms — up 73% year over year — and this year’s Watchathon is a great opportunity to highlight the breadth and depth of everything we offer across both X1 and Flex,” Rebecca Heap, SVP of video and entertainment, said in a statement.

Additionally, X1 and Flex customers also can sample full catalogs of some of popular niche SVODs such as Acorn TV, History Vault, Lifetime Movie Club, Hallmark Movies Now, Here TV and Kidstream.

This year’s event also offers thousands of hours of multicultural content with access to services such as Kocowa, the video streaming platform that specializes in delivering mainstream Korean TV dramas, variety shows and K-Pop shows; Brown Sugar, the SVOD service featuring one of the largest collections of African-American movies; and Pantaya, which features a varied selection of Spanish-language movies on a single service.

Content includes:

  • Seasons one and two of “The Penthouse,” Korea’s K-drama. Viewers get a peek of how the affluent live in Korea’s Hera Palace, a luxury apartment building, and follow the stories of three ambitious women.
  • Eve’s Bayou, the award-winning 1997 American horror drama film written and directed by Kasi Lemmons and starring and produced by Samuel L. Jackson. The film was recently selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
  • Pantaya’s original series “La Negociadora,” starring Barbara Mori as Eugenia Velazco, a hostage negotiator and renowned criminal attorney haunted by her past and her criminal father.

Roku Launching Holiday Video ‘Stream-a-thon’

Taking a page from Comcast Cable’s playbook, Roku Dec. 10 announced the pending bow of its first-ever video content “Stream-a-thon,” from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, 2019.

Registered Roku users will be able to watch complete seasons and movies from third-party sources such as Acorn TV, Adult Swim, Discovery Channel, Epix, Food Network, HGTV, Hopster, NBC, TLC and Travel Channel, among others.

In August, Roku bowed “Featured Free,” offering Roku users a way to find free ad-supported streaming entertainment. The platform includes the latest in-season episodes of top network shows, full past-season and catch-ups that are free and available to browse in a single experience.

The promotion mirrors Comcast’s “Watchathon,” which gives Xfinity subscribers in the Spring week-long access to myriad TV shows from third-party sources, including Netflix and HBO.

“The holidays are the perfect time for new and avid streamers alike to discover, enjoy and share in full seasons of top shows for free,” Matthew Anderson, chief marketing officer at Roku, said in a statement.

The “Stream-a-thon” features the first full-season of “Deep State” from Epix, which is owned by MGM Studios, in addition to full-seasons and episodes from “Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution” and “Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death” (Acorn TV); “Rick and Morty” (Adult Swim); “Storm Chasers” (Discovery); “Diners, Drive-in and Dives” and “Beat Bobby Flay” (Food Network); “Fixer Upper” and “Property Brothers,” (HGTV); “Two Minute Tales” (Hopster); “Making It” and “New Amsterdam” (NBC); “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” (TLC); “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” and “Ghost Adventures” (Travel Channel).

“The Roku platform is easy to use, offers content people love and delivers unrivaled value. We’re delighted with the quality of shows and to be working in partnership with some of the biggest and best providers across television,” said Anderson.

Comcast Returns ‘Watchathon’ Binge-Viewing Week

Comcast Cable April 11 announced it is bringing back the “Xfinity Watchathon Week” April 16-22, affording subscribers non-stop, on-demand access to thousands of hours of content – including over-the-top.

Launched six years ago as a TV Everywhere antidote to Netflix and OTT video, Comcast for the first time is offering Watchathon to Xfinity Internet-only subscribers and programming from Netflix and more than two dozen SVOD services, such as Acorn TV, AMC Premiere, FX+, Lifetime Movie Club, History Vault and even DOGTV, which offers a selection of programming made just for man’s best friend.

Eligible subs can also watch thousands of movies and TV shows from more than 50 networks, including AMC, FX, HBO, MTV, NBC, Showtime, and Starz.

Comcast will also offer a subset of programming to its Internet-only subs via the Xfinity Stream app and portal.

“This year, we’re … 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,” Daniel Spinosa, VP, video entertainment services, Comcast Cable, said in a statement.

Xfinity Internet-only subs have access to back episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and ‘Westworld,” Showtime’s “Billions,” and “Homeland,” and Starz’s “Outlander,” and “Power,” among other programs.

The promotional week will enable Xfinity subs the option to explore dozens of third-party SVOD platforms, such as Acorn TV’s British hits, AMC Premiere, CuriosityStream’s documentary films and series, Daily Burn’s workout class, select shows from FX+, Gaiam TV Fit & Yoga fitness videos, History Vault’s historical and educational content, and Stingray Karaoke’s collection music.

“With voice control and the ability to surface our programming seamlessly within their experience, X1 provides networks like us with a unique platform for discovery alongside some of the best and most popular programming available today,” said Matthew Graham, GM, Acorn TV.