Comcast 'Watchathon' could drive HBO, Showtime subscriptions

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) detailed the programming lineup for its Xfinity Watchathon Week, which will include multiplatform content from HBO, Showtime, the Big Four broadcast networks and dozens of cable channels.

The free preview, which will run March 25 through 31, could help Comcast drive expanded basic subscribers to upgrade to HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax. With the third season of HBO hit series Game of Thrones premiering on March 31, offering access to every episode from previous seasons could get some subscribers hooked on the original program.

Comcast isn't giving basic cable subscribers passwords that can be used to access TV Everywhere apps built by cable networks such as HBO Go, Showtime Anywhere or WatchESPN. Instead, it is distributing the Watchathon programming through its Xfinity TV Player App for Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad and iPhone and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android devices. Subscribers will also be able to watch 100 TV series from 30 networks through its Xfinity On Demand platform and its TV Everywhere website.

"This will be the biggest catch-up ever in TV history," Comcast Cable VP of Video Services Maggie Suniewick said in a prepared statement.

For more:
- see the release

Commentary: How Comcast, Charter and Time Warner Cable will use TV Everywhere to steal DirecTV and Dish subscribers

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