In the next year we will see Kaltura, Ensemble, or ShareStream acquired by Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, or Cengage. The founders and early investors in at least one of these online video platform companies are going to do quite well for themselves. The publishing company that makes this acquisition as soon as possible, before the price gets too steep, will realize the highest return on its investment.
- The ability to manage, manipulate, discover, share, brand, tag, share and display media is quickly emerging as the most important educational functions as teaching and learning is increasingly mediated by the browser and the mobile device.
- The publishers are sitting on a mountain of existing video content, everything from short animations to longer video clips. This media content is correlated with textbooks, and therefore can be utilized effectively to drive book adoption. What the publishers are missing is an effective method for faculty to discover, embed, and re-mix this video content directly into course management systems (the CMS), functions that Kaltura, Ensemble and ShareStream excel at.
- The existing publisher media content is often in the wrong format for mobile devices, and they lack the technology to ensure the correct encoding and display across a range of platforms.
- Publisher media content is today segregated from the other media utilized on campus for teaching and learning, a separation that decreased the effectiveness of this media and hinders the up-sell to textbooks or other services.
- Publishers have poor analytical tools to measure and understand how their media is utilized, and therefore cannot engage in intelligent marketing and communication efforts, much less rationalize investments in the creation of new media.
- McGraw-Hill was smart to buy Tegrity, but lecture capture is only one part of the education media equation, and is less useful unless coupled with media management.
- Educational content will move away from paper textbooks, and towards the mobile apps and rich video and animation content. The amount of immersive, interactive media will increase dramatically as the traditional textbook migrates to the iPad and the Android App. Unless publishers have a strong management and delivery mechanism for this video, in addition to expertise in the creation of mobile apps, the dominant players in education publishing will stop being the traditional incumbents whose expertise lies in assembling paper textbooks.
Investors and publishers, are you listening?
What do you think?