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TV Column
Posted at 02:23 PM ET, 01/24/2012

Update: WTTG confirms Xfinity commercial interruptions during football game was station technical issue


San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants during the NFC Championship Game. (Ezra Shaw - GETTY IMAGES)

Update: Washington’s Fox-owned TV station WTTG acknowledged Tuesday that those Xfinity ads that interrupted Washington Comcast customers’ viewing of Sunday’s Giants-49ers game were the result of technical problems at the station.

“We apologize for the impact these technical issues had on the viewing experience of Comcast subscribers and have taken additional steps to ensure that these problems do not happen again,” WTTG said Tuesday.

Comcast viewers in Washington who were watching the nail biter of a game were galled when Xfinity ads began interrupting actual play.

Viewers jumped on social networks to vent. Comcast reacted quickly, issuing a statement early Monday that said: “We know some D.C. area viewers missed portions of last night’s NFC Championship game due to additional ads inserted locally.” Comcast also said that it sympathizes “with their frustrations” and that “WTTG believes it was due to an equipment failure at their station.”

“Not so fast,” responded the station, saying it was still investigating. But 24 hours later, WTTG issued Tuesday’s statement/apology.

Original post from Monday: “OMG Comcast Xfinity grabbed the ball, ran to the end zone, and are saying they get to play the Pats in the Superbowl,” one Washington TV viewer marveled Sunday toward the end of that riveting NFC championship death match between Super Bowl contenders the New York Giants and the San Fran 49ers.

With entrée to the Big Game at stake, lucky Comcast viewers were treated to some of those extras Comcast keeps telling its customers about — Xfinity ads smack dab in the middle of game play!

(Xfinity, BTW, is the name Comcast came up with in ’10 to pitch, in larger markets, its package of cable, Internet, and phone services. At that time, Comcast said the name reflects its infinite content choices and cross-platform features.)

So, where else could you get that Xfinity X-perience during Sunday’s game?

Nowhere!

“Not seeing these Xfinity ads on Verizon FiOs, baby. We’re watching football!” one non-Comcast customer tweeted bravely during Sunday’s game.

So, is this what Comcast means by “experiencing Xfinity” like they say in that Xfinity ad — the one their viewers saw in lieu of that Giants punt in overtime play, when the score was tied at 17-17?

No, says a Comcast spokesperson, which modestly insists it can take NO credit for Sunday’s game Xfinity X-tras. Then, speaking for WTTG — awfully generous of her, since her paycheck is signed by Comcast, which owns Fox competitor NBC — she said, “WTTG believes it was due to an equipment failure at their station.”

We called WTTG, because we like to give credit where credit’s due. But, turns out, they are not, as yet, willing to take credit for the viewing extras. A station rep tells the TV Column they are “investigating” to make sure the right company gets credit. These TV industry folk sure are collegial!

By  |  02:23 PM ET, 01/24/2012

 
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