Comcast: The kids are alright

Sept. 21, 2018
Live TV is still, well, alive on college campuses, according to data culled from Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Xfinity on Campus service from January through June. Forty-four percent of video consumption was ...

Live TV is still, well, alive on college campuses, according to data culled from Comcast's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Xfinity on Campus service from January through June. Forty-four percent of video consumption was live, followed by VOD at 37% and DVR at 19%.

Students also are drawn to the largest screen available, with twice as much viewing occurring on computers and laptops as compared to mobile devices.

"Tens of thousands of students use Xfinity on Campus every day to watch TV, and that's enabled us to identify some interesting viewing trends, like the significant portion of live programming college students are watching, including sports, scripted drama and reality TV," said Mike Gatzke, VP, video subscription services, Comcast Cable.

Sundays and Thursdays are the most popular days for watching TV on campus, with Saturday having the fewest viewing hours. And Prime Time still reigns with 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. being the most popular time slot across all days.

"It is a misconception that they are watching at all hours of the night," said Adrian Adriano, VP strategic initiatives, Xfinity Communities. "For every student watching at midnight, we have six watching between 7 and 9."

Live sports dominated the top 10 most-watched programs, while "This is Us," "Grey's Anatomy," "The Bachelor," and "Jersey Shore" are among the shows college kids prefer.

"It is an IP service, so students are watching on laptops, iPads, iPhones, anywhere on campus. The students (living on) campus are freshmen and sophomores, so this generation is still watching live TV. Video is not dead," Adriano said.

The first seven months of the year, there were a lot of exciting sporting events, including the Olympics, which students watch live because they don't want to hear the results before they've seen it. Likewise with the "must-see TV," Adriano said.

When students logon to the app, they are staying on enough time to watch three 30-minute shows if they are watching on demand. That is where the binge watching comes in. "We have a huge library of on-demand content. Most content owners make (programming) on demand the day after it airs. DVR content comes in when they want to take content on the go. They can watch it online," Adriano said.

Xfinity on Campus started a little less than five years ago on one university campus. The second year there were seven campuses, and now there are 130. "We have had great success and in the last two years have doubled our number," Adriano said, noting that more schools are slated to launch this quarter and in Q4.

Generally, Xfinity on Campus is provided as part of the cost of room and board, since universities want to provide entertainment as part of the services they offer. Adriano explained that doing so using Xfinity, the university doesn't have to worry about congestion because the service uses a different pipe.

"The university can save its own Internet pipe," Adriano said. "It frees bandwidth for the schools. From a marketing perspective, it is great that we get to showcase our products and services to students who might not live in our footprint."

"When they come to school in our footprint, they have been exposed to what we have to offer. The hope is that when they move off campus they will (have loved) the experience and will stay with us. It is a foot in the door with the next generation of subscribers, and we are learning a lot from them," Adriano said.

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