How a Flagship State University Achieved $900K Savings and Reduced Overall Campus Energy Consumption Through Media Spend Optimizations

This is an AArete Higher Education insight

Efficient Cable Infrastructure Reform: Balancing Budget, Environmental Impact, and Academic Demands


The client, the flagship entity of a state-wide public research university system, partnered with AArete to identify and capture various cost savings and revenue enhancement opportunities across all university operational areas. The engagement spanned all categories across the campus including IT, facilities, HR, utilities, and administrative expenses which positively impact key budgets including housing, facilities management, athletics, and more.

A significant cost savings opportunity identified was a better alignment of residence life and campus amenities to student and faculty needs; namely, campus cable.


Focusing on the large annual expenditure on student housing cable services, AArete issued an exit survey to auxiliary units and students living in university housing to gauge the utilization of cable in individual rooms and communal areas. A representative sample was collected and found that approximately 10% of students were using university-offered cable services regularly in their individual rooms. Campus departments were also polled, which yielded comparable results.

Alternative options were explored including streaming services, managed cable, and media services-provider programs, and direct agreements with cable companies. Findings were presented to stakeholders with the recommendation that the university rationalize cable services to a scaled-down cable and streaming service delivered to communal areas only. Stakeholders from across campus were consulted to ensure such a change would not disrupt cable or internet service to non-housing entities and areas within housing where service was to remain in place.

Underutilized cable boxes in communal areas and auxiliary departments were also identified via onsite collaboration and marked for deactivation accordingly.


AArete’s recommendation and subsequent spearheading of the implementation of the new program led to a substantial reduction in annual expenditures related to cable service across both housing and auxiliary units. Services were bundled under one contract with standardized rates enabling streamlined billing and management of the program moving forward. Additionally, the campus saved ~556,000 kWh of annualized energy consumption. Cable services continued uninterrupted across campus and service/maintenance guarantees were unaffected.

The university was also trained in best practices and given tools to monitor utilization moving forward.
In a university campus setting, encouraging students to gather in communal areas for engagement—by reducing the number of screens throughout campus—can both reduce costs and elevate the student experience, while also enhancing the campus’s environmental footprint.

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