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Discovery Invests in Digital Textbooks in Hopes of Growth - NYTimes.com


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“It’s kind of perfect for us,” said David M. Zaslav, chief executive of Discovery Communications, which owns networks like Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC. “Educational content is core to our DNA, and we’re unencumbered — unlike traditional textbook publishers, we’re not defending a dying business.”

Mr. Zaslav is not the only media executive talking grandly about education these days. Movies, television, newspapers and magazines are in decline or facing headwinds, putting pressure on media companies to find new areas of expansion.

Education is emerging as an answer, largely because executives see a way to capitalize on the changes that technology is bringing to classrooms — turnabout as fair play, given the way that the Web has upended major media’s own business models.

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And then there is the Walt Disney Company. It is building a chain of language schools in China big enough to enroll more than 150,000 children annually. The schools, which weave Disney characters into the curriculum, are not going to move the profit needle at a company with $41 billion in annual revenue. But they could play a vital role in creating a consumer base as Disney builds a $4.4 billion theme park and resort in Shanghai.

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Discovery currently sells a popular subscription streaming service to schools, which comes with 50,500 video segments and 6,200 full-length videos on topics like math, social studies and language arts. The service costs $1,570 a year for a school that serves kindergarten through eighth grade; high schools pay $2,095.

Edutainment is big money, eh?

It is. I was most fascinated, though, by Disney using inception on Chinese students. Those guys are not messing around. Building schools just to inculcate them with Disney characters at a young age. Wow.

Ad-supported schools and textbooks ... :)

They have this down to a science.

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