UI presents movies and shows streaming service for dorm students

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University Housing and Dining has launched Residence Life Cinema, a streaming service featuring up to 400 movies and TV shows, for campus residents.


University of Iowa students living on campus can now access a selection of movies and TV shows through the university’s new entertainment streaming service.

Earlier this month, University Housing and Dining launched Residence Life Cinema, a streaming service owned by Swank Motion Pictures, Inc., an international film distributor and licensor, for students living in residence halls.

Greg Thompson, UI’s home education director, said the service has up to 400 movies, from classics to new releases, that are constantly being shot along with a few TV series. He explained that the service is a year-long trial that Swank presented to the user interface to gauge student enjoyment and usage.

UI’s Associated Residences Board initially explored and pushed the service to see what more the UI could provide for campus residents, he said.

“Part of campus life is that there is an expectation of services that are provided to students,” Thompson said. “Just like laundry, just like being able to have an accessible meal plan…being able to have access to video or digital entertainment, I think, is starting to become an expectation.”

Other Big Ten universities, such as the University of Minnesota, have similar dormitory entertainment services. The university offers students UMN-TV, with over 120 channels. Indiana University has another streaming service, XFINITY Stream.

Thompson said he’s confident the service will serve UI students more than just after-class entertainment, eventually expanding its use for higher education.

“The ability to have a company that will work with us to curate and pull specific titles around what’s happening on campus or different celebrations of the different identities we have on campus is just another way to complete the mission from academia,” he said.

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Molly Bimm, a freshman transfer student at UI, lives in Catlett Residence Hall and was thrilled after hearing about the new streaming service. She immediately used it to watch “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

“I think I’d probably come home on a Friday night after class and watch in a category that interests me and choose a movie to watch for the night,” Bimm said. “It’s nice that it’s free, and it’s nice that I can watch it right on my laptop anywhere.”

Emi O’Brochta, a third-year UI student, lives off campus and said she was upset when she heard about the service’s fun offers excluding students who don’t live on campus.

“[I feel] kinda disappointed that when we lived in the dorms we didn’t have access to them, and that would be fine,” O’Brochta said. “I sort of understand because the cost of housing is so high that it makes sense that it coincides with the cost, but that’s a little disappointing.”

Bimm said she enjoyed the easy-to-navigate and categorized layout that Residence Life Cinema offers for a wide variety of movies, leading her to enthusiastically dub the service “a student Netflix.”

“I think I might watch one before my study session,” Bimm said.

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