Online learning has produced some unicorns and a plethora of niche businesses. Tim talks about one that focuses on the IT learner.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to ITProTV.
Tim Broom: I am the CEO of ITProTV. We’re an online learning provider for people who are interested in information technology, security, and networking. The easiest way to describe it is, it is the Netflix of IT learning where someone may pay us a subscription price to have an entire library.
In the same way that Netflix creates its own content like House of Cards, we also have our own content. We have five video production studios. We are creating new and engaging content every day.
Sramana Mitra: Who are the educators?
Tim Broom: I’ve been really fortunate to have a lot of good friends in this business going back to 2000. I started in the brick-and-mortar training business. I met a lot of great people along the way. Fifteen of our people have been with me for 20 years now.
We have 12 full-time subject matter experts who we call edutainers. They each have their own area of expertise in either security, Cisco networking, Microsoft server, CompTIA, ITIL, and project management. We have a full-time staff that are edutainers in those particular areas.
Sramana Mitra: What specifically do you cover? You said security. That’s a vast field with lots of platforms and products.
Tim Broom: If you think about IT professionals, I consider our platform as 85% of everything that an IT professional needs to know. When I say IT, that’s not an engineer, developer, or a coder. It’s an IT guy who’s doing your networking, information security, and even bleeding into areas of
Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), project management, and server management.
The reason I call it 85% is, typically if you’re in the healthcare or financial business, there’s that 15% of the software or hardware that’s specific to your industry that we just don’t cover.
Sramana Mitra: The horizontal IT stuff.
Tim Broom: Correct. 40% of it might be certification-based and the rest are best practice, technical skills, or real-world type of learning.
Sramana Mitra: How many subscribers do you have?
Tim Broom: We have over 100,000 subscribers. A lot of our subscribers access it for free. We stream live every day. There are about 50,000 paying members.
Sramana Mitra: How much do you charge?
Tim Broom: $420 a year per user. You’ll see some 15% to 25% promo codes out there that can lower the cost. For other organizations that buy 10 or more, there would be some package pricing.
Sramana Mitra: Could you do a bit of a competitive landscape mapping for me? There are players like Pluralsight and LinkedIn Learning. Where do those guys play in your space?
Tim Broom: Pluralsight went public. They’re evaluated as being a unicorn over a couple of billion dollars. They do about $350 million to $400 million a year in revenue. Aaron did a great job. He was able to make nine or ten acquisitions and then organized all the way to the IPO.
About 70% of 80% of the content is dedicated to developers. I would say they probably have the best presence in the area of development. They don’t really focus on IT. They focus on developers. We focus on IT professionals. We have some development content but it’s more in the DevOps space where IT people need to learn some engineering skills because of the cloud.
LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda, is geared towards the end-user. Since LinkedIn acquired Lynda, we haven’t had much of a competitive presence with them in a head-to-head situation. They’re uncertain about where their future lies as far as what they’re going to focus on.
Pluralsight seems to be the biggest competitor. There’s also a company called CBT Nuggets. They’ve been around for 20 years. Content-wise, they are a better match for us.
This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Online Education: Tim Broom, CEO of ITProTV