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ITN and Espresso join forces in UK digital education market

Independent Television News (ITN) has made a strategic investment in Espresso, the UK’s market leader in the provision of video-rich digital teaching materials to schools.
The partnership provides ITN with a clear entry point to the education sector and will be aimed at developing Espresso’s multimedia service, which is built to support core curriculum requirements, and exploring opportunities to market the Espresso concept outside the UK.
The agreement, under which ITN will take a significant minority shareholding in Espresso, enables the news organisation to move into the rapidly-growing digital education market as part of a broader strategy to utilise its now substantial video archive business.
ITN manages the world’s largest video collection, comprising over 680,000 hours of footage. It has exclusive selling rights for the ITN, Reuters, British Pathe, Granada, Channel 4 and Fox News video libraries.
The investment will accelerate Espresso’s roll-out into the UK education sector, where it has already signed up 4,400 schools for its services, achieving 25% market penetration in primary schools.
Since its inception in 1997, Espresso has pioneered the use of media-rich digital teaching materials in UK schools and uses full-screen video, updated weekly to keep pace with major news events, as a key part of its interactive service. The Espresso service, including both the weekly News Service and subject-specific teaching modules, is designed to supplement and enhance classroom lessons and closely follows key strands of the education curriculum.
The investment by ITN marks the entrance by a new major media player into the educational software industry, a sector driven and supported by the government’s education agenda. The ITN-Espresso agreement involves both a cash investment and wider access for Espresso to the ITN Archive for the next 15 years. Espresso will use the cash to extend its reach into the market and to support and retain existing subscribers through the continual development of high quality products and renewal programmes.
Over the past two years the number of schools subscribing to Espresso services has grown by 400% and Espresso has developed a 36-gigabyte library of curriculum-linked resources. The partnership will enable Espresso to raise the industry standard for breadth and depth of video-rich teaching resources. ITN and Espresso will also work together on exploring opportunities for Espresso services in overseas markets, utilising ITN’s global archive sales infrastructure.
Mark Wood, Chief Executive of ITN, will join the board of Espresso Broadband. He said: “This is a highly complementary partnership. ITN has been aggressively building and expanding its video archive business, which is now a global leader. Teaming up with Espresso links us to a well-managed and dynamic educational company which is also a market leader, utilising modern technology. It gives ITN an important position in the education sector, which has strong government support, and means we can make great strides in the utilisation of our video content in schools, both in the UK and in other markets. ”
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