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.
All of the programs will be available to Comcast customers on mobile devices and tablets as well as television. The company is encouraging greater use of its application that allows viewing everywhere, a product that has started more slowly than people expected. Networks might also be encouraged to make more of their programming available on demand if the week is successful, he said.
Networks might have been concerned about losing some of its live audience to on-demand programming, but the week before Easter is generally slow with a lot of reruns being aired.
“We really see this as a collaboration where we are all partners,” Strauss said.