With its first watch-a-thon such a rousing success, Comcast is following up with another, this time one a summer’s worth of children’s and family entertainment.

Comcast had been looking for a way to drive greater use of its video on demand (VOD) service, and hit upon the notion of a free marathon of VOD viewing – a “watch-a-thon.” The freebie event, held in March, was such an enormous success that Comcast vowed to hold others. Other companies, including Verizon, were inspired to hold similar viewing marathons.

Comcast’s Summer of Kids has a dual purpose. First, it is aimed at driving viewers to its on-demand library of family-friendly content. The company is using the occasion to introduce a set of search and discovery features.

Comcast is also opening its Wi-Fi network to all comers for two weeks, offering non-customers a taste of what’s available to subscribers of Xfinity TV. From July 15 through July 31, the tens of thousands of Xfinity WiFi hotspots the company has established across the country will be available at no cost to anyone with a WiFi-enabled device.

Shows that are available for streaming include Dora the Explorer, Angry Birds Toons, Sofia the First, Phineas and Ferb, Ben 10, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, The Chica Show, Sid the Science Kid, Lazy Town, Pajanimals, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and more.

Comcast said it also has 1,000 downloadable kid-friendly choices, including Finding Nemo, The Muppets, Brave and Freaky Friday, that are included as part of a customer’s respective Xfinity Digital TV, Streampix and premium subscriptions.

Sprout and Kabillion, along with content from Warner Brothers and Cookie Jar offered via Xfinity Streampix, are now joining Starz, Encore, Movieplex, and Showtime as networks offering kids’ content that can be downloaded directly to tablets and smartphones and enjoyed in places where there’s no Internet connection, Comcast said.

Looking to drive social media traffic, Comcast customers can visit Xfinity TV’s Facebook page to vote for a movie they’d like to see discounted during “Family Movie Night” weekends in July. Movies on the list include Babe, Monsters Inc. and How to Train Your Dragon.

The search and discover features that Comcast is introducing include:

  • Ratings: In partnership with Common Sense Media, Xfinity TV is integrating TV show and film ratings into kids content.
  • Easier Discovery Across Platforms: Comcast is also working with Common Sense Media to let customers filter content by age group and most-watched on Xfinity On Demand. Additionally, the Xfinity TV Player App on Apple devices now features a dedicated family and kids content section.
  • New Resources for Parents: Comcast recently launched a parental controls microsite to help parents manage what their kids are watching on TV, online and on mobile devices.

“Xfinity On Demand brings families a huge selection of the best kids content to enjoy safely together. As we head into the busy summer travel season, Summer of Kids provides them with even more content and more ways to watch while on the go.” said Maggie Suniewick, vice president, programming, Comcast Cable. “We’re also giving parents ultimate peace of mind for safer, smarter viewing across devices by expanding our parental controls and giving them new ways to help find age-appropriate content across our entire Xfinity On Demand platform.”