EXCLUSIVE: Comcast is unveiling “Free This Week,” a new year-round program giving subscribers to the Xfinity X1 pay-TV bundle and Flex streaming package a more regular sampling of no-charge streaming and premium network programming.
The new offering replaces the annual Watchathon Week, which had been a popular draw for customers over the past 10 years, according to the company. X1 and Flex also have previously hosted Free TV Week around Thanksgiving.
Free This Week programming will be made available on a single destination and a selection of programming will also be available on the Xfinity Stream app and Xumo’s XClass TV. As of September 30, Comcast had about 16 million residential cable customers in the U.S., virtually all of them on X1. Nearly 4 million Flex devices have been distributed to Comcast broadband customers since the service launched in 2017. (Flex technology is also being licensed to a new joint streaming venture between Comcast and Charter.)
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In a nod to the New Year’s mood, the first two weeks of Free This Week will feature free access to wellness apps like The Great Courses, Gaia, One Day University, Gaiam TV, Sweat Factor and FitFusion by Jillian Michaels. Future participants will include HBO Max, Showtime, Revolt, History Vault, Lifetime Movie Club and others to be named, Comcast said.
The company describes the shift as an “evolution” in its strategy to engage customers. New data from Xfinity shows viewership typically doubles during the time a network or streaming service lifts the subscription gate, even for a few days.
“At Xfinity, we strive to deliver the best entertainment experience to our customers and make it easy for them to access all the programming they subscribe to, and also discover new programming that might be of interest to them,” said Sophia Ahmad, EVP and CMO, Comcast Cable. “With Free This Week, we are offering customers a no-strings-attached chance to discover something new every week of the year, building on the great success previously established with events like Watchathon Week and Free TV Week.”
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