HBO Now, Multi-Bundling, and Higher Ed

How will the traditional residential campus evolve?

March 10, 2015
So I’m not that impressed with the Apple Watch (maybe I’ll be wrong), but I am excited about HBO Now. Paying $15 a month to get access to Game of Thrones season 5 seems like a relatively good bargain.  Being able to watch Silicon Valley season 2 is a bonus. We are a cord-cutting household (no cable or satellite TV), so we are a prime target for HBO Now (along with Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime and Netflix).

Beyond the opportunity to hang out with Daenerys, Tyrion, Cersai and the gang (on my iPhone no less), what makes HBO Now so interesting is HBO’s decision to invest in a multi-channel, multi-platform (after the iOS exclusivity ends), and multi-bundle approach. HBO is not so much unbundling its service, as most of its customers (and money) will still come from traditional cable and satellite premium subscriptions, but creating new options to complement its core bundled business.  

What HBO is doing with HBO Now (and I’m amazed that it took them so long) is offering its customers a choice. If you like having a bundled TV package you can go right ahead and keep paying for your bundle.  Watch all the HBO and sports and House Hunters that you like on your TV, or on any other device that your TV subscription supports. (HBO Go is part of the bundle). Alternatively, if you would rather not pay for bundled TV subscription, you can disaggregate your TV paying choices - paying monthly for specialized programming on iOS and Web devices.  
What would it look like for a traditional bundled university to offer a multi-bundled option?  
Is there the equivalent of cord-cutters looking for the benefits of a traditional residential education?
When I retire I’d love to live and learn on a college campus. What I’d want is a small apartment on campus, the ability to audit classes, and free range in the library and the athletic facilities. How many campuses are unbundling and re-bundling their services to accommodate retirees and others interested in living in a learning community?
What other multi-bundling options are available for the traditional residential campus? Many schools have been experimenting with pre-college summer programs, low-residency degree and non-degree executive programs, and online summer courses for enrolled students. Maybe your school is running conferences and camps, institutes and retreats.   
My guess is that every school will need to follow HBO and aggressively explore options to complement their traditional bundled offerings. Multi-bundling can complement the core bundled residential services by increasing utilization, capabilities, and revenues. 
What are the benefits and risks of multi-bundling for traditional residential campuses?
What multi-bundling initiatives have your worked on on your campus?
Will you be subscribing to HBO Now?


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