TV binge viewing isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but it is one that has caught on significantly in recent years.  While we can’t pinpoint the exact reason for the trend, we do know that the proliferation of incredibly compelling and serialized TV shows (Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Homeland, to name a few) combined with the complex lives and schedules of viewers, and technologies like Xfinity On Demand, streaming video and TV Everywhere have played a significant role. It is therefore no surprise that marathon viewing has become an almost a cult-like pursuit for casual to enthusiast TV viewers alike. 

So what makes a series binge-worthy and why are programmers, like A&E, HBO and NBC, involved in Xfinity Watchathon Week from March 25 – 31? 

For many, timing is the key with the opportunity to draw in new viewers and boost ratings through pre-season premiere catch-up.  HBO’s Game of Thrones is a prime example.  With Season 3 set to premiere on March 31 and every episode of every season available for Xfinity TV customers to view during Watchathon Week, HBO is building off of some impressive viewership stats on Xfinity On Demand already.  Game of Thrones was the most viewed premium network TV series On Demand in 2012. The show’s Season 2 premiere was the most viewed premiere TV series episode of 2012 On Demand and, astoundingly, leading up to the premiere of Season 2, the first episode of the 2011 season had even more views than the 2012 season premiere. This suggests that new fans had heard the buzz and wanted to catch-up on Season 1 so that they could get in sync with Season 2. Perhaps this true catch-up behavior is something we will see repeated during Xfinity Watchathon Week.

A&E’s Duck Dynasty is another hot show that has been dominating Xfinity On Demand viewership (the most viewed new series of 2012 On Demand) and has a major opportunity to expand and further engage its fan-base during Watchathon Week.  A huge, break out hit for A&E, Duck Dynasty’s Season 3 premiere drew 8.6 million live viewers on February 27.  With so much excitement around the show right now, A&E is making every episode of every season available to Xfinity TV customers during Watchathon Week, ensuring that new and current fans can catch-up on it all by mid-Season 3 and start watching live April 3. 

NBC’s Revolution was one of the most viewed, time-shifted shows on TV in the fall (not to mention the No. 1 new drama on network television). This imaginative, post-apocalypse adventure from J.J. Abrams returns on March 25 with every episode of its premiere season available to view during Watchathon Week.  That means if you’ve heard the buzz but haven’t had the time to watch, the Watchathon is the perfect chance to catch-up and then start keeping up live with one of the top, new dramas on TV. 

TV has become the number one category on Xfinity On Demand, generating more than 80 million hours a month of time-shifted viewing.  And Watchathon Week is the ultimate opportunity to capitalize on what Xfinity TV customers clearly want … TV series catch-up.  With that, it seems we already know the answer to the question, "To binge or not to binge?"

A full listing of shows and networks involved in Xfinity Watchathon Week is available here.

What are you going to watch? Tell us at and­_TV with #Watchathon.