Comcast Hoping Free Campus Cable Will Stop Cord-Cutters Before They Start

With their ever-changing schedules, yearly changes of living situation, it’s easy for a college student to realize there’s little value in a pricey pay-TV package they may rarely ever get to use. Throw in HD wireless devices and ready access to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu — hell, even Crackle — over public WiFi and you’ve got a petri dish for growing an entire generation of consumers who have no need for 13 Discovery Channels and 27 variations on Nickelodeon. That’s why, in the hopes of getting the hook into students before they learn they can live without MTV’s new Tuvan throat singing channel, Comcast has partnered with a handful of colleges to include a cable package in the cost of room and board for students.

According to Variety, the package won’t be the oversized slate of hundreds of channels you skip over trying to find something, anything to watch. Instead it will be an 80-channel package that can also be streamed to computers, tablets and smartphones.

The program is launching this fall at a handful of schools scattered around the mid-Atlantic and New England, from tiny Bridgewater College in Virginia to Drexel University in Comcast’s home turf of Philadelphia to Emerson College and, Lasell College, and MIT in the Boston area.

“Xfinity on Campus lets students watch TV on their own terms,” a Comcast exec explains to Variety. “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.”

The real test will come when this younger generations graduates into low-paying jobs and has to make the choice between paying a pile of chase for cable or paying less than $10/month for a streaming service.

Money might prove more addictive to some than the tantalizing lure of being able to watch a has-been/never-was celebrity overshare live on Bravo.