The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

March 16, 2013

Seeking viewers en masse

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 March 25-31 promotion. 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.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World
  • FedEx charges raising online pharmacy issues

    SAN FRANCISCO — FedEx Corp., the latest company accused in a federal probe involving illegal online pharmacies, says it will fight the charges that it knowingly shipped drugs to people who lack valid prescriptions....

    July 27, 2014

  • EU, U.S. seek to curb Putin’s Ukraine course

    BRUSSELS — Months after Russia annexed Crimea and stepped up support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, Europe and the United States are still searching for a way to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to change course....

    July 27, 2014

  • Fighting intense near crash

    DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian armed forces mounted a major onslaught against pro-Russian separatist fighters Sunday in an attempt to gain control over the area where a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed earlier this month....

    July 27, 2014

  • Gaza war rages despite truce pledges

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel and Hamas launched new attacks Sunday in the raging Gaza war, despite going back and forth over proposals for a temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting ahead of a major Muslim holiday....

    July 27, 2014

  • Hamas fires rockets on Israel, ending 12-hour lull

    BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — Hamas said it fired five rockets at Israel late Saturday after rejecting Israel’s offer to extend a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire by four hours, casting new doubt on international efforts to broker an end to 19 ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Death shows Ebola can spread through air travel

    ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigerian health authorities raced to stop the spread of Ebola on Saturday after a man sick with one of the world’s deadliest diseases brought it by plane to Lagos, Africa’s largest city with 21 million people. The fact ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Police ID kids killed in Philly carjacking crash

    PHILADELPHIA — Two carjackers who fled after ramming a stolen SUV into a family selling fruit for their church, killing three young siblings, were still on the run Saturday as the reward for their capture topped $100,000. The children’s ...

    July 27, 2014

  • U.S.: Russia firing across border

    KIEV, Ukraine — Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Small holes cause big jitters

    SEOUL, South Korea — For the developers of the world’s sixth tallest building near Seoul, a mysteriously shrinking lake and the appearance of small sinkholes in residential neighborhoods couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time. ...

    July 26, 2014

  • Secret photo victims must describe trauma for case

    BALTIMORE — Thousands of women whose genitals might have been photographed during gynecological exams can share a $190 million settlement from Johns Hopkins Health System. But they’ll have to describe their trauma before seeing any money. ...

    July 26, 2014