Comcast expands 'Xfinity on Campus' to 27 schools, ups battle with start-up Philo

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has announced that its streaming skinny-bundle service aimed at college students, Xfinity on Campus, has expanded to 27 schools since its commercial launch a year ago. 

"The streaming service has enabled Comcast to introduce students to our next generation products, services and technologies," said Marcien Jenckes, executive VP of consumer services for Comcast Cable. "Strategically, that was very important for us as we want to show the marketplace that we are evolving to satisfy consumer behavior."

Xfinity on Campus lets users stream programming from a dozen popular cable channels via campus Wi-Fi networks on laptops and mobile devices. According to Jenckes, about 15 percent of customers are paying for additional add-on channel packages.

The proliferation of Xfinity on Campus comes as a start-up launched in a Harvard dorm room, Philo, is ramping up a similar IPTV service aimed at college campuses. Now based in San Francisco, Philo has amassed $18.8 million in venture-capital financing and is aiming to become the pay-TV streaming service of choice for college students "from Cambridge to San Francisco."

Speaking to media in a conference call, Jenckes said services like Philo "historically filled holes in the marketplace, when cable companies did not acknowledge changing behavior in students at universities."

With Xfinity on Campus, he added, "there isn't necessarily a need for that type of service."

Comcast plans to add cloud DVR to the service later this year, Jenckes said. Comcast will also launch an updated app for the service that consolidates viewing for live, on-demand and DVR viewing. 

Sharing Xfinity on Campus viewer data, Jenckes said students watch twice as much live programming as they do VOD, with sports viewing being the dominant programming genre. 

For more:
- read this Comcast corporate blog post
- read this Beta Boston story
- read this Multichannel News story

Related articles:
Comcast launching Xfinity On Campus at Drexel University
Comcast launches Xfinity On Campus IPTV service in Boston
Philo leads traditional TV toward campus cord-cutters, and maybe OTT's future

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