Pac-12 Networks Extends TVE Bridge To Students

Taps Synacor To Authenticate Video Delivery To Mobile Devices
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Pac-12 Networks and Synacor have teamed up to bring the Pac-12 Now TV Everywhere service to students living on-campus, creating a system that authorizes students on a growing number of campuses to use the app on mobile devices.

The app authentication system, currently in use at Arizona State University, the University of Washington and UCLA, enables eligible students to sign-in using each school’s existing student identification system. Synacor is providing the TVE authentication and authorization, extending, via proxy, the existing college student ID management system for each university.

Pac-12 Networks and Synacor expect to roll out the platform to other Pac-12 schools in the coming months as more universities opt-in. About 80,000 on-campus students attend schools in the Pac-12, which in addition to ASU, UCLA and the University of Washington includes the University of Arizona, University of California, University of Colorado, University of Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, USC, University of Utah, and Washington State.

According to Pac-12 Networks president Lydia Murphy-Stephans, the student-tailored TVE project was spawned by initial interest from ASU president Michael Crow, as it became increasingly apparent that most students don’t watch TV in common areas and prefer to consume video on their mobile devices. She said a recent Harris poll found that 73% of college students preferred to watch their favorite shows on mobile devices rather than TVs.

Murphy-Stephans said the approach undertaken with Synacor, which was initially tested at ASU, has proven to be relatively low-effort and scalable, noting that USC, Stanford and the University of Utah are among the schools next in the queue.

“We leave it up to each school to decide when it would like to opt-in,” she said. Pac-12 Networks, which encompasses a national TV network and six regional channels, is collectively owned by the schools in conference. The Pac-12 Now app is offered on iOS- and Android-powered smartphones and tablets, as well as PC browsers.

The TVE-facing work being conducted by Synacor and Pac-12 Networks highlights a growing trend in which on-campus video services are transitioning from television set-focused “bulk” video services to more agile offerings that can be delivered securely over campus IP networks to PCs, smartphones and tablets.

Among recent activity, Comcast has been expanding the deployment of its offering, Xfinity On Campus, as has Cox Communications, which has developed an IP-delivered, multiscreen offering called Campus Connect. Philo, a Boston-based startup with backing from HBO and Mark Cuban, also has built an on-campus IP video platform that’s being deployed by dozens of universities.