Networks agree to on-demand week

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

Hear new songs from Josh Clauson at Saturday release party

The producer of the Summer Meltdown music festival and Flowmotion band leader has a solo album out.

Get schooled on Texas BBQ at this Monroe restaurant in a bus

Brisket, pulled pork, sausage, chicken and the fixin’s all await you near the Reptile Zoo on U.S. 2.

Spy comedy ’Kingsman: The Golden Circle’ is laugh-out-loud funny

It’s a superficial but energetic sequel to the 2014 film about a clandestine British secret service.

39th annual Arts of the Terrace attracts regional artists

The Mountlake Terrace juried show features paintings, drawings, photography, miniatures and more.

Ben Stiller was born to play title character in ‘Brad’s Status’

Writer-director Mike White’s script has plenty of Brad’s voiceover, so this movie feels like a novel.

See both versions of ‘The Old Couple’ on Historic Everett stage

The Outcast Players perform Neil Simon’s classic comedy with alternating male and female casts.

The ‘Whimsical Woman’ shares what she learns on the trail

Jennifer Mabus came here from Nevada and Hawaii. She leads hikes and blogs about them.

‘Friend Request’ a horror flick about the dangers of Facebook

Though it’s a little behind the times, Simon Verhoeven’s film about social media is effectively done.

Branch out: ‘Tasting Cider’ recipes call for hard apple cider

Top cider makers share how they like to make hush puppies, bread pudding and the pear-fect cocktail.

Most Read