Comcast Bundles Pay TV With Campus Housing to Draw Young

Comcast Corp., seeking to build its business with younger audiences, is offering students at seven colleges live TV and video on-demand on their smartphones, tablets and computers as part of on-campus housing.

Xfinity On Campus, included with room and board, will start this term at Bridgewater College, Drexel University, Emerson College, Lasell College and the University of Delaware, Comcast said today in a statement. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of New Hampshire will run trials.

Mobile devices and services such as YouTube and Netflix Inc. have forced pay-TV companies to experiment with new ways to reach younger viewers on limited budgets. YouTube generates more than 40 percent of its views from mobile devices. Students will be able to access shows through their school Wi-Fi. Comcast is the incumbent pay-TV provider on those campuses.

“With this younger generation, more and more viewing is happening away from the traditional TV set, and we have evolved our products and services to better engage them,” Marcien Jenckes, Comcast’s executive vice president of consumer services, said in the posting.

Philadelphia-based Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, will offer more than 80 channels like AMC, Bravo, Comedy Central, ESPN, FX and MTV, including every major broadcast network in those markets. The service will include live and on-demand access.

Mobile services are a growing part of every pay-TV company’s offerings.

Growing Market

DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite service, offers students at 10 universities NFLSundayTicket.TV, online access to professional football. That package starts at $199.99.

AT&T Inc. said today it is adding 50 more TV channels, including ESPN, HBO and CNN, to its U-Verse streaming app. AT&T’s pay-TV customers can watch 180 channels on mobile devices, such as Inc.’s Kindle Fire and Fire phone.

AT&T has been expanding its online TV programming offering, while pressing ahead with the planned $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV. AT&T is urging regulators to approve the deal, saying a combined U-Verse and DirecTV would offer stronger national competition to Comcast.