To create Content or to Sell
Education Technology — these words started echoing in the hallways of most high-end schools in India by late 90s. The rising computing powers of devices with the advancement of multimedia industry showed massive hopes of a new culture in education which had already been coined as Ed-tech. This gave birth to the idea of smart classrooms in schools: a space that had largely been untouched with technology but had enormous potential. The common notion among the business community was that creating digital content for classrooms(Digital Learning) is going to be the next big success, but if we have to ask ourselves honestly would we really call it a success?
Companies built on the soul foundation of creating digital content and selling to B2B channels came crumbling down or saw dips in valuation within years. Why? was the demand of digital content superficial? Does a child not like to be taught by animations or cartoons?
The bigger fishes who have managed to stay afloat could deliver quality content quickly in the market by making heavy investments in content creation, but small players(passionate about education) got into silos and took their own sweet time to develop quality content after extensive research. These companies invested their golden years in not testing the market but solely in just creating content while the bigger fishes were testing the waters and had already pitched the idea to most schools. 5 Years later when the smaller ones came to the market to start selling, majority market had either tested the bigger companies or were not interested in technology. This led to a major failure of most smaller Digital Learning companies barring a few who could pivot around their focus audience. With time even the bigger fishes have lost their shine!
What is the problem really? Is the digital learning market not ready?
The problem is with the business model that most content players adopted during late 90s and the early 2000. These businesses solely depended on the government schools, and private school bodies to pay them for the content. The payment cycles and sales cycles in these organizations are so long that most companies could not keep themselves liquid for too long. More often than not the payment would get defaulted even after 10–15 follow up cycles.
Does that mark the end of digital learning in classrooms? Most hopefully not, its not the idea of education with technology that is at fault but rather the business model. We have only tried to reach the end user(child) by using multiple stakeholders in the middle — middlemen or seller, schools/government or teachers.
How about directly reaching out to the child? Would that work? With the numbers of smart phones and tablets increasing exponentially and the fact that children do access their parents phone for at least 15 minutes a day, I guess we know where to go next.
Do we now re-invent the wheel, create more quality content and then get to the sales cycle?
We at ConveGenius have a better solution! Why not bring together those numerous small digital learning companies that have created value content into a curated market place? Why not be the UBER in education and bring together the existing infrastructure and help these content providers reach the masses? The content providers will get access to massive distribution network through this business model, while they get to focus on their core strength (creating new quality content) and not worry about spending dollars in marketing. Instead they get paid to be a part of this platform and for the eye time for which their content gets used.