Networks agree to on-demand week

  • By David Bauder Associated Press
  • Tuesday, March 19, 2013 8:06pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

NEW YORK — The nation’s largest cable company is planning a television “watchathon” for the last week of March, collaborating with several television networks to make entire series available for free on demand.

The Comcast Corp.’s plan encourages binge viewing, where people spend hours catching up on television series they may have missed the first time around and serves as a grand look into what may be the future of TV viewing.

Comcast has convinced more than 30 TV networks to make their programming available for the weeklong promotion that begins Monday.

More than 3,500 television episodes will be offered, said Matt Strauss, senior vice president of digital and emerging platforms for Comcast.

“We’re at an inflection point in how people watch television,” he said.

Broadcast networks like ABC and CBS generally make only the four most recent episodes of a series available to on-demand services.

For the promotion, participating networks will make all of a season’s episodes available for people to catch up on viewing.

Comcast customers will also have free access to premium networks like HBO and Showtime, which they would normally pay extra for, during the promotion. In many cases, entire histories of programs like “Game of Thrones,” “Homeland” and “Girls” will be available, along with some old series like “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos.”

The sheer size of Comcast, which owns NBC Universal, is what gives the experiment its resonance. Roughly 20 percent of the nation’s television households are Comcast customers.

For the television networks, the experiment offers viewers a chance to catch up with or get acquainted with series they might not have followed. Lately, series like “The Walking Dead” are increasing in ratings in a way that indicates many people are watching past episodes during lulls in the series and getting hooked.

For the premium networks, the special week might also encourage more customers to pay for their service if they try, and like, some series that they might not have been exposed to, Strauss said.

All of the programs will be available to Comcast customers on mobile devices and tablets as well as television. The company is encouraging greater use of its application that allows viewing everywhere, a product that has started more slowly than people expected.

Networks might also be encouraged to make more of their programming available on demand if the week is successful, he said.

Networks might have been concerned about losing some of its live audience to on-demand programming, but the week before Easter is generally slow with a lot of reruns being aired.

“We really see this as a collaboration where we are all partners,” Strauss said.

More in Life

Beer of the Week: Scuttlebutt’s Night Circus

The Everett brewery’s head brewer had nightmares trying to dial in its new coffee and coconut ale.

Viognier: French white grape gaining foothold in Washington

Viognier, the noble white grape of the northern Rhône Valley of France,… Continue reading

Curries continues home-cooked Indian cuisine at new location

The restaurant, now located on Evergreen Way, also puts an Indian spin on Northwest cooking.

New documentary chronicles Obama’s last year in White House

“The Final Year” doesn’t paint the administration in rosy colors, but it isn’t too critical either.

‘Forever My Girl’ takes a page from the Nicholas Sparks genre

The film based on a novel by Heidi McLaughlin is a well-worn tale of lost love and redemption.

Christian Bale seems to channel Clint Eastwood in ‘Hostiles’

Bale plays a U.S. cavalry captain who escorts a dying Cheyenne chief to his tribal homeland.

A visit to the nursery helps put you in the mood to garden

Not ready to get back into gardening? January is still a fun time to poke around a garden center.

Plant of Merit: Hybrid oriental hellebores, Lenten rose

What: Oriental hybrid hellebores, with the common name Lenten rose, are a… Continue reading

International guitar tour led by Lulo Reinhardt stops in Edmonds

International Guitar Night, now in its 18th year, is Jan. 24 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Most Read