Comcast ‘Watchathon’ Boosts Spring Premiere Ratings

By Karen Fratti 

If you need to catch up on your “Mad Men” or “Game of Thrones,” next week is a good time to start if you have Comcast. Their third annual “Watchathon” starts next week, where they “unlock” their on-demand for all customers, so you can watch HBO or Starz for free. Cable companies stink, but free premium channels and content rules.

Last year, Comcast says customers watched a total of 50 million hours during Watchathon Week, and they think they can break that record this year. It’s good for business, but also good for shows. “Game of Thrones” premiered after the binge-fest and Comcast thinks it helped boost ratings. According to a spokesperson:

Live ratings for the season 4 premiere were 17 percent higher in Comcast households compared to non-Comcast households across the country.  Additionally, 675,000 viewers caught the premiere on Xfinity On Demand within the first three days– growing the national audience an additional 10 percent.

It could also be demographics, too, but getting a chance to catch up for free the week before doesn’t hurt either. Network execs are psyched, too. Pam Bertino, Senior Vice President Content Distribution, Pop TV Network, thinks its great exposure. Because what do you watch when you’re done with HBO or “Orphan Black?” She says in an official statement that:

Once a year, Comcast showcases the breadth and depth of its Xfinity On Demand platform with Watchathon Week and helps new and existing fans get caught up on the best shows of the season. Time-shifting has become an integral part in how consumers view TV today, and we’re excited Pop fans can access an ‘all-you-can-view’ pass to shows like “Schitt’s Creek” and “Unusually Thicke.”

Comcast will be monitoring the week using #Watchaton on Twitter and via an official Facebook page, in addition to directing viewers to their “headquarters,” complete with a planner and quizzes like “What kind of Watchathon-er are you?” Just promise me this: it’s springtime, too, so go outside now and then.