Comcast has been hosting an annual “Watchathon” event since 2013, in an effort to drive up interest in their Xfinity TV services. The Watchathon is always timed to occur a few weeks before the premier of major TV series to convince more viewers to tune in. The popularity of binge-watching has helped the Watchathon event grow into what it is now—one of the largest events in the video-on-demand (VOD) industry. The 2017 Comcast Watchathon recorded a total of 77 million-plus hours of video content watched during the week in which it ran.
This years Watchathon took place from April 3-9. The big differentiator for this years event was the addition of Netflix shows, which had never been present in years past. Comcast focused on offering television shows from season one, knowing that “[Their] customers don’t want to start a book on chapter five, and they certainly don’t want to start a show on season five either,” VP of Programming, Comcast Cable TV Andy Hunter explained in a blog post. That thinking has paid off, and Comcast has the numbers to prove it.
In 2013, about 54 million hours were watched during the event. The 2016 Watchathon broke all the previous records with 71 million hours watched. That record was broken again this year as the 2017 Watchathon recorded a total of 77 million hours of content watched. That’s a 42% increase since the first Watchathon.
With the recent launch of Xfinity Stream, Comcast’s mobile app, the company kept a close eye on how mobile viewership performed during the Watchathon. This year 4.5 million hours of content was watching on a mobile device—that’s triple the 1.5 million hours recorded during 2013.
In total more than 50 different networks participated in this years Watchaton. To put that in perspective, there were only 20 networks during the first event in 2013. Even more impressive is the number of complete series that Comcast made available this year. In 2013 there were 16 complete shows—this year there were 161.
No matter what metrics you look at, this years Comcast Watchathon was a resounding success for the company. Time will tell how many new customers the company recruited during the event, but it’s safe to assume that the Watchathon is an event that is here to say.