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New FIPP member Thought Industries is serving an exciting new area for publishing – e-learning. It’s a dynamic growth area for the magazine media industry, says CEO, Barry Kelly.

Thought waves

Who runs Thought Industries, and what does it offer? Thought Industries was founded in 2013 in Boston by three partners with a combination of experience in e-learning, digital product development and publishing. We offer a turnkey e-learning platform for publishers and brands so that they can deliver powerful learning experiences to their audiences. We are laser-focused on what we call “consumer learning” – the pursuit of lifelong learning. This covers, for example, hobbies, nutrition, fitness, fine arts, career development and personal improvement. It’s an established channel, with off-the-charts growth that brands are embracing for customer education, customer engagement and content marketing. We also offer professional services; helping our clients build business cases such as P&Ls, market research and content strategies.

How big is the company? We have about 18 staff and have grown steadily this year. We have some employees in Boston, but also have a number of remote employees. We like to go to where the best talent is.

What is business growth like? We are seeing a very strong demand among media owners in particular. For any size media owner, online learning is a highly lucrative, growing market opportunity. Our research shows a 300 per cent growth year-on-year among those taking online courses outside academic or corporate training settings. Our platform is a white- label option for publishers so they can continue to maintain a direct educational relationship with their consumer base.

Publishers are very well positioned as: 1. They have a lot of rich content that can be easily transformed into learning products.

2. They have established marketing and distribution channels to promote and offer online learning. }

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have a number of customers who are bloggers, subject-matter experts and authors who are leveraging their e-books and other content to create online courses. We also work with associations who are eager to provide resources and education to their partners and members.

What plans do you have? Our product is a cloud-hosted platform, which allows us to release new features each month, such as authoring, e-commerce, reporting, marketing and user management. We are now excited about expanding our work in the publishing market. We have a lot of market experience here.

Are there any plans for international expansion? Our platform offers internationalisation and we see ourselves very much as an international organisation. We are excited about expanding our discussions and client-base outside the USA.

Is that why you joined FIPP?

For any size media owner, online learning is a highly lucrative, growing market opportunity

3. They have highly loyal audiences that trust them as credible sources for learning or how-to content.

4. With other product categories on decline (especially newsstand) this is a very effective way to add a strong profit centre to publishing businesses.

Who are your main targets? We are primarily focused on the US and international publishing industry, but are also working with event and trade show organisations who are looking

for ways to stay engaged with their audiences year-round. We

We joined FIPP because we heard a lot of great things about the organisation. We understood that the majority of our clients and future clients are members and felt like joining would be a great way to introduce our ideas on consumer learning to the international industry. We believe very strongly that there is an enormous opportunity for publishers in this space and we wanted to share our knowledge, research and ideas.

What benefits do you think you will gain from membership? We have already seen immediate benefits. The staff at the have been proactive in helping us get the most out of our membership. The content in the newsletters, the member directory and Magazine W are all great ways for us to stay connected.


The Thought Industries blog publishes twice a week, offering insights, how-tos and other online consumer learning. w

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