Discovery Communications Inc.'s in-school ventures received a boost Thursday
with an acquisition deal for United Learning Inc., one of the education field's
leading producer/distributors of audiovisual materials.
The purchase price was not disclosed.
United, based in Evanston, Ill., will operate as a unit of Discovery's
consumer-products division, which already sells and distributes more than 600
videos and CD-ROMs among educators nationwide under the Discovery Channel School
United also operates a streaming-media service, United Streaming, with a
library of 2,000 videos and 20,000 video clips, available in more than 24,000
public, private, junior and senior high schools nationwide.
There are no plans to exploit United’s streaming-content library for home
use, including video-on-demand over cable systems, DCI president and chief
operating officer Judith McHale declared on a conference call. "We want to
provide programming to the classroom. We have no plans beyond that," she
However, some of United's content may find its way to TV as segments of
Discovery Channel's Assignment: Discovery series, which runs
commercial-free weekday mornings and allows teachers the right to tape it for
classroom use as part of Discovery's association with Cable in the
Because a considerable portion of United's streamed material is about medical
and fitness topics, "there might be some way to work together with Discovery
Health Channel," McHale added.
Prior to the acquisition, Discovery Channel School products were taken by
about 90,000 schools per year, covering 1.5 million teachers and 35 million K-12