Online television is hard to resist. Like, potato chips hard. After insisting we’ll watch just one episode, there’s a good chance you’ll find us many hours later, eyes glazing over, finishing our second season. By making access to its online archives free for one week later this month, Comcast is hooking us even harder.
Normally, a user’s access to Comcast’s streaming service, Xfinity, mirrors their cable subscriptions. So if someone subscribes to HBO, he would be able to access HBO content online while another cable customer who did not subscribe to the channel would not be able to stream its content. Between March 25 and March 31, however, all Comcast cable customers, regardless of their commitment level, will have access to all content on the company’s streaming service–which includes favorites such as Girls, True Blood, Homeland, House of Lies, Downton Abbey, and Mad Men.
After the “Watchathon Week” is over, Comcast will continue the promotion with a “catch-up of the week” schedule that makes a different TV series available to all customers each week.
The hope is that these samples of binge watching, which include shows not available through other streaming services such as Girls and Game of Thrones, will encourage customers to subscribe to premium channels. In a week’s time, it’s mathematically impossible to watch all 3,500 of Xfinity’s television episodes. But it will be almost as difficult not to get hooked on them.