Education Publishing and the $140B Digital Disruption

The $140B global publishing industry has been navigating digital disruption for at least two decades. EdTech’s $160B+ market today will more than double by 2025, dwarfing the publishing market at large.

Screenshot 2020-05-14 15.39.31

The Top 100 Global Publishers generate over $70B of revenue, about half of the $140B global publishing market. Beyond the complexities of defining 'publishing' and segmenting 'education', EdTech's $160B+ market today will more than double by 2025, dwarfing the publishing market at large.

The $140B global publishing industry has been navigating digital disruption for at least two decades now. Then along came COVID-19, an unwelcome accelerant to the competitive environment for analog incumbents. Students, parents, educators, entrepreneurs and politicians alike are looking to innovation and technology for new ways to reduce cost, improve access and outcomes, and deliver a more customized learning experience. This was the case before COVID-19 and will only accelerate in whatever new shape the global education market takes as we transition to the new normal.

The screenshot below, from HolonIQ’s Global Intelligence Platform, shows 100 of the largest global publishers, each circle a single publisher sized by revenue and colored by country of company headquarters. Our Analytics Studio visualizes our machine learning models that estimate organization revenue and size global markets.


Source. HolonIQ, May 2020

In this fast-changing environment, publishers face an incredibly challenging decade ahead to expand their share of the $6 trillion currently spent on education around the world. A few publishers are well on their way through this transformation, but most lag behind.

Publishers were once protected from competition by high barriers to entry. They had deep relationships with authors, knowledge of buying processes, and distribution networks to protect their position and dominant market share. But their positions are now well under attack as education progressively shifts more toward digital content and channels to market and as learning content and learning experience merge through personalised and adaptive experiences. EdTech is primarily the beneficiary, fueling homework help and testing companies, digital courseware and Peer to Peer Q&A platforms to name a few categories supporting schools and colleges with a variety of options to meet the wide variety of today’s learning needs.

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