Comcast offers a week of streaming freebies to Xfinity video subscribers

A cable operator with a history of TV-service rate hikes is giving its customers something different this week: video at no charge.

Comcast announced that subscribers to its Xfinity X1, Flex and Stream services get a week of free viewing — from Nov. 22 through Nov. 28 — of “thousands of shows and movies” from such services as HBO Max, Amazon’s Prime Video, Showtime, AMC+ and more.

Note that “thousands of” doesn’t mean “all of,” as the no-charge menu Xfinity is offering often only includes select series or particular seasons. For example, the HBO freebies cover the first season of the comedy series "Hacks" but not season 2, while the free Prime Video fare is limited to the first seasons of "Reacher," "Terminal List," Tom Clancy’s "Jack Ryan," "The Boys," "Upload," "Carnival Row" and "With Love."

Spokeswoman Debbie Frey clarified in an email that Starz and Epix are providing their full library, AMC+ is providing “select seasons” of such series as "The Walking Dead" and "Pantheon," and Showtime is giving X1 subscribers full-catalog access but offering only “select titles” to subscribers to Comcast’s cheaper, streaming-only Flex service for the first three days of the promo before providing its entire catalog for the last four.

Both X1 and Flex subscribers can check out their free viewing possibilities by saying “free” into their voice-enabled remote, while Xfinity Stream app users should see a Free TV Week shortcut on their landing page.

The Philadelphia cable giant’s renewal of this promotion comes a few weeks after its quarterly earnings featured more video customers dropping its service. Comcast reported losing 540,000 residential video subscribers, leaving it with a residential video subscriber total of just over 15.97 million — just above half the residential-broadband total of 29.84 million.

Tammy Parker, principal analyst for global telecom services at GlobalData, gave Comcast some credit for including streaming services in this promotion instead of sticking with content carried on its core MVPD service.

As she wrote in an email: “By offering previews of various streaming services in addition to more traditional premium networks, Comcast is meeting its customers where they are and providing a wide array of content previews to stimulate demand for its viewing platforms.”