Publisher Buys Company For On-Line Delivery of School Materials

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One of the nation's largest publishers has acquired an Arizona-based distance-learning company to allow on-line delivery of curriculum materials and interactive educational-television programming.

Simon & Schuster announced last month that it had purchased the Educational Management Group of Scottsdale, Ariz., for an undisclosed price.

Simon & Schuster is a New York City-based subsidiary of the media conglomerate Viacom Inc., which owns such businesses as Paramount Pictures, Blockbuster Video, Computer Curriculum Corporation, and the MTV Networks.

The deal gives Simon & Schuster, which calls itself the world's largest educational publisher, the ability "to deliver instructional materials in every medium" from text to television, said Ralph Caulo, the company's executive vice president.

Mr. Caulo said the purchase also will give Simon & Schuster a ready-made infrastructure that will enable it to deliver materials electronically to E.M.G.'s existing markets and will provide the expertise to expand into other schools.

The acquisition also comes as telecommunications companies are scrambling to wire homes and schools for access to advanced digital networks.

To share in a potentially lucrative market, therefore, publishers are seeking distribution channels on the information highway, at the same time that telecommunications companies are seeking content to fill their high-capacity wires. (See Education Week, Jan. 11, 1995.)

Broad Access to Schools

E.M.G., which was founded in 1988, develops and distributes customized multimedia products and live, interactive television programming to more than one million students in 3,500 schools worldwide.

The company delivers its products directly to computers, or teacher workstations, which it describes as "electronic blackboards," via satellite and also over a private cable-television network.

Through its Home Empowerment Network, E.M.G. also provides programming on educational issues that schools can distribute to homes over local cable systems.

Simon & Schuster also announced that it was establishing an educational-technology group, to be headed by Mr. Caulo, comprising E.M.G., Computer Curriculum Corporation, and Simon & Schuster's own educational-multimedia subsidiary.

Computer Curriculum already delivers some of the software that it developed for its SuccessMaker integrated-learning system into homes over a Viacom cable system.

Vol. 14, Issue 23

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