Friday, March 08, 2013

Targeted tablets. News Corp looks to the education market for recurring revenue streams. A smart opportunity for other vendors?


FT STORY on tablet >>

Tablets for tots, tablets for docs, tablets for teens, now tablets for tweens.

Is the tablet computer the spiral notebook of the 21st century? The new pen and pencil? And even the teacher's planner?

Here is a new tablet teaching solution from Amplify, News Corp's education unit, that is being marketed directly to schools. At $299, the 10-inch, Android-based tablet is priced in-line with similar tablets on the market. Samsung's 10-inch Tab, for example, sells for $330.

But News Corp is looking to make this into a service-based business: the tablets are part of a larger education-focused ecosystem, complete with attendance-taking tools, achievement tracking, and a trinket reward system for students. For this on-going software and services package, Amplify will charge $99 per tablet per year, which would be a nice recurring revenue stream if it takes. News Corp's approach here of developing a service-based model could have some merit if the results justify the RoI.

The goal of getting in the classroom is nothing new. Apple has always done well in school going back to the early '80s, and other big-name hardware and software vendors were making their own tracks.

Other device, service, and platform vendors would be wise to monitor developments of this move and get ready to do a fast-follow or risk losing mindshare of future generations: namely, Google is pushing schools to "Go Google" and could be on its way to successfully establish its platforms as the new work standard. It will be worth following the developments of Amplify's platform: perhaps we can all learn something from this.

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