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How Comcast is disrupting the way college students watch TV

Xfinity on Campus, a service that lets college students watch cable TV and on-demand content on campus, is heading to more schools nationwide.

The colleges involved with Xfinity on Campus. (Courtesy image)

This post is sponsored by Comcast.

For Comcast’s introduction of Xfinity on Campus to seven colleges last year, the company hoped the on-campus service that gives students access to cable TV and on-demand content would catch on.

After seeing how popular it was, Comcast is now bringing the service, which will be included with room and board for students with on-campus housing, to 27 schools this fall, like Drexel University and the University of Delaware, locally. It will be trialled at Carnegie Mellon University this fall and is coming soon to Tennessee State University.
Xfinity on Campus is essentially an extension of Comcast’s successful X1 Platform — access to live television programming, a growing library of movies and TV shows, intuitive searching, downloading and streaming — but for college campuses. With this service, Comcast remains dedicated in its “commitment to letting [customers] enjoy the content that they love where and when they want to do it,” said Marcien Jenckes, executive vice president of consumer services for Comcast Cable.
An important goal in this initiative was for the company to take into consideration how and when college students consume their content. As students are constantly on their laptops, phones or tablets, Comcast made sure to make the service available on iOS, Android, laptops and PCs, from anywhere on campus.
“The way people watch video is changing faster than ever,” Jenckes said. “That’s why we’re creating new ways for people to watch the movies and shows they love, experimenting with offerings that attract new audiences.”
Even live television, which at first may seem irrelevant in today’s world of Netflix binging, is something Comcast noticed is consumed by college students, especially with sports programming like Comcast Sportsnet.
“The interesting thing is that if you give students access to live TV, they’ll actually watch it,” said Jeremy Andreoli, executive director of video services for Comcast Cable. “There’s a misnomer that students aren’t watching live TV and we actually have proof that’s not the case.”

Regis University was one of the first colleges to offer Xfinity on Campus.

Regis University was one of the first colleges to offer Xfinity on Campus. (Courtesy image)

From a business perspective, Comcast also sees college students as prospective customers, and the company wants to make the best impression with Xfinity on Campus, which acts as an introduction to other Comcast services and technologies, like Stream or its voice-controlled remote.
But the service is also a way for Comcast to build new relationships with universities in addition to rekindling relationships with schools that were no longer affiliated with the company. One example of the latter is with the University of Delaware and Michele Kane, the university’s associate director of residential life, explained how student residents valued the freedom of the new service.
“What we hear from students is that the moment they find out about that, it gives them such a sense of relief to be able to find some privacy if they want that kind of viewing experience or they just want to watch their show,” Kane said.
“We’re increasing our sales force regionally, in order to build deeper and better relationships with universities across our footprint, to better meet their needs for things like WiFi, data connections, recruiting, innovation and entrepreneurship partnerships and etcetera,” Comcast’s Andreoli said.
In rolling out Xfinity on Campus to other schools, Comcast wants to ensure that other colleges are technologically capable of handling the service before introducing it.
“Schools that we aren’t serving are coming to Comcast because we have this service that’s really best in class in terms of what their students are looking for,” Menckes said.

Companies: Comcast

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